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26 Sep, 2014 17:50

‘Freedom of speech in Russia, not here!’ German TV mocks Western media’s Ukraine coverage

‘Freedom of speech in Russia, not here!’ German TV mocks Western media’s Ukraine coverage

Double standards, distortion of facts and omissions – a German political satire show has made fun of the way the conflict in eastern Ukraine is reported in Western media.

A segment of Die Anstalt program on German ZDF television channel dedicated to the issue was entitled: “The information war in Ukrainian conflict: An essay in black and white.”

The monochrome footage pictured a general dressed in a World War I German uniform, directing the information war as the editor of a fictional newspaper.

In the spoof, the general/editor gets really excited when he learns about the massacre in Odessa in May, when 48 people were burned alive after being trapped in the local Trade Unions House.

The general’s first suggestion for the report on the tragedy was: “The pro-Russian mob has burned defenseless Ukrainians.”

But when he was told that the victims were, actually, the anti-Kiev activists, the commander quickly changed the text to: “In Odessa, during the clashes between pro-Russian activists and government supporters, 46 people died. Not clear how.”

When asked by one of the troops if “they did it to themselves,” the general’s reply was: “Yes.”

He then dubbed the crash of the Malaysian MH17 flight over Ukraine’s Donetsk Region on July 17, in which 289 people died, “a gift from heaven.”

The journalists in the paper didn’t seem to be bothered about the information vacuum around the catastrophe, as it allowed them to “act without relating to fact at all.”

Die Anstalt illustrated such an approach by showing the famous cover of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, which was compiled of pictures of the people who died on the MH17 flight, and text, saying: “Stoppt Putin Jetzt!” (Stop Putin now!).

Screenshot from YouTube user GWTZ News

The general then ordered his men to ignore the head of the Dutch team investigating the crash as his statements contradict the “the editor’s line,” which “should be kept at all cost.”

When the report on the reasons behind the MH17 crash said that the Malaysian jet was shot down, but didn’t name the guilty party, his ruling was: “Great! In general we can conclude that there’s almost no doubt left that it was the separatists.”

The general’s take on the Russian aid convoy, which brought humanitarian supplies to the residents of Ukraine’s war-torn Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, was: “According to Ukrainian media, the unlawful invasion has led to the mass… to mass survival due to Russian bread and the violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine!”

The media reports of troops in the Ukrainian military wearing swastikas and SS runes set a difficult task for the general, as he had to formulate how it was possible that “the Nazis are fighting for the truth.”

But the commander solved the problem by ordering his employees to keep referring to those units as “volunteer battalions.”

The unproven claims by Kiev that a Russian military convoy was destroyed on its territory provided the fictional paper with a chance to apply a “well-tried strategy – put a statement in the headline and leave the standards of journalist for the final sentence.”

“Russian military convoy destroyed. Paragraph. According to data, that is still not confirmed,” their report said.

By the end of the segment, even one of his own troops got annoyed by the general and exclaimed: “But we’re fighting for the freedom of speech?”

“In Russia, not here,” the commander explained.

Screenshot from YouTube user GWTZ News

German satirists on another TV show recently ridiculed the manner in which the US presents its evidence of Russia’s involvement in the conflict.

Ukraine has been engulfed in violent internal conflict since April, when Kiev’s military began its crackdown on the southeast regions of the country after they refused to recognize the country’s new coup-imposed authorities.

The United Nations said that the death toll in the Ukrainian conflict has exceeded 3,000, with this number including the 298 passengers and crew on board the MH17 airliner downed over the Donetsk Region in July.

The number of internally displaced Ukrainians has reached 260,000, with another 814,000 finding refuge in Russia, the UN says.

The warring sides agreed a ceasefire during talks in Minsk, Belarus on September 5, but there is still a long way to go for the conflict to be settled peacefully.

Kiev and its backers in the US and EU blame Russia for masterminding the unrest and providing anti-Kiev rebels with weapons and troops.

However, no convincing proof has been provided to back up the claims, which have been repeatedly denied by Moscow.