​EU warns Italian media not to favour Russian propaganda

Zona Bianca interviewed Lavrov during a talk show broadcast Sunday night (1 May) on the Italian TV channel Rete 4 in which he referred to the Bucha massacres as fake news and spoke about Adolf Hitler’s alleged Jewish origins to accuse Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – who has Jewish origins – of being a Nazi. [EPA-EFE/SHAMIL ZHUMATOV]

The European Commission warned European media not to give airtime or importance to Russian propaganda following a contentious interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Italian media.

Zona Bianca interviewed Lavrov during a talk show broadcast Sunday night (1 May) on the Italian TV channel Rete 4 in which he referred to the Bucha massacres as fake news and spoke about Adolf Hitler’s alleged Jewish origins to accuse Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – who has Jewish origins – of being a Nazi.

“Broadcasters in the EU and the member states must not allow incitement to violence, hatred and Russian propaganda in their talk shows, as foreseen by the EU directive,” the European Commission digital spokesman Johannes Bahrke announced during a daily briefing with the European press on Monday.

Lavrov’s words were used by Moscow in a propaganda spot that outraged some national and European politicians.

Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said Lavrov’s words are “false, distort and trivialise the Holocaust.”

European Parliament Vice-President Pina Picierno said she expects “Mediaset (the TV station) to clarify what happened.”

Russian journalists and other controversial guests regularly appear on talk shows in Italy. Brussels warned this could help Russian media circumvent sanctions and urged the media to “put into context who the guests are and where the Russian journalists work or have worked.”

On 2 March, the EU temporarily banned Sputnik and Russia Today media, considered vehicles of Kremlin disinformation.

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