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Russia is now monitoring the world’s mass media for bias

April 1, 2015

Photo: Reuters

April fools, this is not.

 

Russia is actually trying to guage how badly the world hates it. Okay, hate is probably not the appropriate phrase. It’s more like distrust, despises, and so on…

I guess firing Ketchum wasn’t good enough.  Russia really wants to know how it stands.

The illustrations in the original article are worth clicking the link.


Feb 25, 2015 

The Russian Institute for Strategic Studies introduced its first-ever World Mass Media Hostility Index, which measures potential anti-Russian bias in the media publications of different countries, and then assigns each country an overall score.

On Feb. 18 the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS),a think tank established by the Russian President in 1992, presented its new “World Mass Media Hostility Index,” the main goal of which is to rank how friendly countries are to Russia by analyzing their mass media content. It aims to identify the states that exercise the most aggressive media policy towards Russia and threaten its “information security.”

This analytical report is the result of detailed analysis of the media policies of different countries in 2014, when crucial shifts in the rhetoric employed by Western media about Russia occurred. The author of the mass media hostility index is a senior fellow at RISS, Dr. Igor Nikolaichuk. He suggests that, over the course of 2014, Western media started to “spread anti-Russian propaganda more actively than ever,” which he calls the beginning of “the global information war” against Russia.

The RISS positions its index as the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the world’s media content pertaining to Russia. The analysis is based on complex statistical data (provided by Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya) that is examined via a new applied discipline known as “political mediametrics.” A unit for analysis is a significant media publication that gives a reader certain assessments of Russia or its leadership. Ordinary news was excluded from the analysis.

The origins of the World Mass Media Hostility Index

As the world entered the information age, the mass media took on a big part in our lives, and over the last decade, started to influence it to an even greater degree. The mass media contributes to the formation of public opinion and leads to the creation of certain narratives in the political discourse in a country, in a region or even in the world. 

The word ‘propaganda’ in recent years has become a new favorite word in the media world. Google Trends show that interest in the word ‘propaganda’ has been rising over time in the ‘news search category’.

The conflict in Ukraine, which erupted in 2014, galvanized a struggle in the media space and contributed to the broad usage of the word ‘propaganda,’ which mostly referred to the information reported by state-owned media, particularly Russian state-owned media.

Propaganda, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is “the information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.” TheRussian dictionary of Ozhegov defines it as “spreading in society an explanation of ideas, thoughts, knowledge or learnings.”

The difference in the definitions is quite obvious, as is the perception of different types of information. From a Russian linguistic point of view, propaganda mostly serves as a tool for explanation of certain ideas, thoughts and policies. The Anglo-Saxon definition stresses the biased or misleading nature of the promoted information. Herein lies the main dichotomy in understanding the information war between Russia and the West.

However, there is a factor that contributes to the misunderstanding between both Russia and the West. In fact, Anglo-Saxon and Western countries dominate the global media world. This puts the Russian media in a sort of defensive position, forced to explain an alternative, different view of events that may not be popular in the West.

This inevitably led to a clash in the type of information the media promotes, especially at a time of geopolitical controversy. In such circumstances, information warfare became a real fact and the world media started to be engaged in a struggle for “hearts and minds” as never before.

The methodology and findings of the new index

Dr. Nikolaichuk says that the volume of analyzed data is about 70 thousand media pieces that were published between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 30, 2014. The data was monitored for 60 countries. Before the introduction of the research results, Dr. Nikolaichuk touched on the topic of information security – that has turned into a top agenda issue in the world over the past 12 months. In the light of the Ukrainian crisis, hostile rhetoric in the world media towards Russia, predominantly Western, increased.

The index is calculated as the ratio of negative publications to neutral publications. The author defines a ratio of more than one neutral to five negative publications as an indicator that the country wages information warfare against Russia.

According to this methodology, there are two countries that currently engage in an “information war” against Russia: Germany and the U.S. The countries that follow after them but are less aggressive in their media policies include Austria, France, the UK and Poland.

Read more…

The latest IO Sphere is out!

March 31, 2015

Winter IO Sphere: The Winter edition of the IO Sphere has been published andFront cover thumbnailposted. The theme for this issue is “The State of the Joint IO Enterprise.” The IO Sphere is available in PDF version and e-reader versions for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and other types of e-reader hardware and can be downloaded directly to your system from the website.

Source: http://home.iosphere.org/

Cabinet has prepared a bill on condemnation of Communist and Nazi regimes and the prohibition of their propaganda

March 31, 2015

31.03.2015 | 17:18
The Government has prepared a draft law on condemnation of Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes and ban their promotion in Ukraine.
Kabmіn pіdgotuvav bill about zaboronu komunіstichnogo mode / Photo UNIAN

Cabinet has prepared a bill to ban the Communist regime / Photo UNIAN

The Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

“The government has prepared a draft law on the condemnation of Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda” – he said.

Yatsenyuk called parliamentary coalition immediately pass this bill.

“The government today introduced a package of laws – on the eve of the end of World War II,the celebration of May 9 . Government asks parliament to pass, including a law to perpetuate the victory over Nazism in World War II. And two more law, “- he said.

Ignorant Russia Stereotyping Is Prime Time American Entertainment

March 31, 2015

Thank goodness SNL is finally making fun of Russia (again).

There is so much material to make fun of in Russia, all of them scary, too.

I watched the video posted at the bottom of the article, it actually is pretty good. I don’t know what Russia-Insider is so excited about.  Okay, maybe I do.  The US uses laughter. Russia uses Grad rockets.  And Buks.  Oh, and don’t forget that new T-14 tank. And it hurts so good.

Yeah, the US should stick to comedy, laughter and jokes.

Much more effective than John Kerry.


We’re all for having a laugh, but when the jokes are so stupendously disconnected from Russia as it really exists, we’re left feeling horrified for the public being served this pile of nonsense.

by Danielle Ryan

In case you were wondering why anti-American feeling is so high in Russia these days, below is a video that should shed some light on that.

Saturday Night Live’s resident Russian character, Olya Povlatsky, has returned. While the Povlatsky character has been at least moderately amusing in the past, last night’s skit was not even remotely funny, and in fact, it was outright xenophobic.

Ironically, just as news on the Russian economy is taking a more positive turn, NBC and SNL thought the time was ripe to inform Americans that Russia is “crumbling”. Weird, since, well….

That’s a striking contrast to just a few weeks ago when…

So, maybe it’s understandable that the geniuses at NBC are a little confused.

SNL is supposed to be funny. I get that — and I get that part of that means leaving political correctness at the door. It means being controversial and flirting with the line between what’s acceptable and what just isn’t. In my opinion, this skit crosses that line.

It’s Russophobic, bigoted, xenophobic. It may be a creation of the writers at SNL, but it reinforces the stereotypes that Washington wants its citizens to hold about Russia. Worst of all, it encourages ignorance at a time when that ignorance could turn dangerous. And just for a cheap laugh.

I thought for a minute that perhaps I was being overly critical, so I asked a friend who has no interest in Russia to watch it and give an honest opinion. This was their response:

“It seems like the goal was purely just to dig at or make fun of any aspect of Russian culture they could think of…and to be honest, it just wasn’t even that funny anyway. I didn’t laugh. It was a bit contrived.”

Stick to making jokes about America, SNL. There’s plenty of material in that.

Source: http://russia-insider.com/en/r/5156

Crushing dissent. Timeline of repressions against Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea

March 31, 2015

2015/03/31 • CRIMEA, CRIMEA ONE YEAR OF ANNEXATION, FEATURED

Article by: Alya Shandra

“Within a year of occupation Crimea turned into a peninsula of fear,” said Ukraine Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska during the 113 th session of the UN Committee on Human Rights on 16 March 2015. The native population of Crimea, the Crimean Tatars, have much to fear: only a little over 20 years has passed since they returned from a forced deportation to Central Asia under the Soviet dictator Stalin. They are now facing the danger of a second deportation off their native land. On 26 March 2015, leader of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Refat Chubarov said that after Russia’s occupation of the peninsula, the Crimean Tatars “do not exclude any action on the part of Russia, including the deportation of whole nations.” The year under Russian occupation has been one of relentless repressions against Crimea’s indigenous population. Halya Coynash at KHPG has been documenting all the cases; we have placed them on one timeline.

1. Kidnappings and murders

Reshat Ametov with his son, 2010. Photo: Reshat Ametov / Odnoklassniki (via gordon,com.ua)

A total of 18 Crimean Tatars were reported missing in Crimea over this year, as reported by Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev. Some of them were found dead, some were contacted later. The Crimean Tatars were one of the most active opposers of the Russian occupation; they had been staging multiple protests from the time of the appearance of unmarked military personnel in Crimea (who Putin later admitted to be regular Russian troops).

Reshat Ametov was the first Crimean Tatar to die: he was kidnapped on 3 March 2014 from the building of the Crimean parliament where he was standing in solitary protest by three men from the so-called ‘self-defence’ paramilitaries. His mutilated body was found on 15 March. The Crimean Human Rights Field Mission reports that the murder investigation has been suspended, with no reason given.

Timur Shaimardanov, a 34-y.o. businessman, and Seyran Zinedino, a 33-y.o. hauler, close associates that participated in demonstrations against annexation of the Crimea and helped the Ukrainian military during the blockage of their military units by the “self-defense” and “little green men,” disappeared in May. On 25 May 2014, Timur Shaymardanov left for work, and nobody saw him ever since. His friend Seyran started a search for him, but went missing after 5 days. Criminal cases for murder were opened, but, according to relatives, the investigators were more interested in the political views of the victims than their whereabouts.

On September 27, the 18-year-old Islyam Dzhepparov and his 23-year-old cousin Dzhevdet Islyamov were kidnapped by unknown men in black uniforms. Law enforcement agencies have shown negligence in searching for the victims; relatives suspect that they themselves are involved in the crime.

eyran Zinedinov and Timur Shaymardanov disappeared in late May, their destiny has been unknown since then. Photo: Zarinka Topchi and Timur Shaymardanov / VKontakte (via gordon.ua)

23-year-old Eskender Apselyamov disappeared in Simferopol on 3 October 2014 after leaving for work. 25-year-old Edem Asanov was found dead a week after his disappearance on September 29. On October 13, two 18-year-old students, Artem Dayrabekov and Belyal Bilyalov, disappeared in Simferopol. Bilyalov’s body was found on the outskirts next evening with signs of cruel torture.  29-year-old Usein Seitnabiyev had been missing since 31 October 2015.

Apart from Crimean Tatars, other civic activists have been kidnapped in Crimea: Vasyl Cherysh, an Automaidan activist who left for Crimea when Russian forces disguised as “self-defense” troops began seizing government buildings, was already reported missing on 15 March 2014, a day before the so-called “referendum.” Leonid Korzh had gone missing a couple of days before Shaimardonov. A more extensive report is available on gordon.com.ua.

2. Destroying the leadership

Mustafa Dzhemilev  (left) and refat Chubarov at a press conference in Kyiv

On 20 March 2015, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev explained the repressions among Crimean Tatars: it was because Russia could not find the equivalent of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov in annexed Crimea. Although separate Crimean Tatar individuals have opted to cooperate with the new Russian authorities, their representative body, the Mejlis, and Crimean Tatars in general, were strongly against Russian occupation and have faced mounting repression.

Refat Chubarov and Mustafa Dzhemilev banned entry to Crimea

On 22 April 2014, veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev was first informed of a five-year ban to enter Crimea, a ban that Russian authorities claimed was false. However, when Mustafa attempted to cross the border between mainland Ukraine and Crimea on 3 May 2014, he was stopped by a cordon of frontier guards and military men and was handed in a handwritten paper banning him from entering Crimea. Five thousands of Crimean Tatars on one thousand cars gathered to the frontier city of Armyansk to greet their leader and accompany him into Crimea, chanting his name and the slogan “Millet! Vatan! Kyrym” (“Nation! Homeland! Crimea”) (as seen on video). With the risk of bloodshed great, Mustafa Dzhemilev returned to Kyiv, but the Mejlis called upon Tatars to continue peaceful protests. On May 15, Mustafa Dzhemilev’s house wassearched, and in February 2015, a Russian court upheld the ban, imposing that the veteran Crimea Tatar leader is a “threat to Russia’s national security.”

Head of Mejlis Refat Chubarov faced a similar fate on 5 July 2014. Crimean “Prosecutor General” Nataliya Poklonskaya issued both leaders a 5-year ban on entering Crimea, until 2019.

The Mejlis is an executive commission, the 33 members of which are chosen by the Crimean Tatar Kurultai, an elected representative council that is the highest political authority of the Crimean Tatar nation, from among Kurultai delegates. The Kurultai is elected every five years by an election mechanism created and run by the Crimean Tatars themselves. Read more:Mejlis explainer on RFERL

An offensive against the Mejlis

Building of the Medjlis in Simferopol. Photo: http://qha.com.ua/

After the sham “referendum” by which Russia annexed Crimea, veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev instructed the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, located in the capital of Crimea Simferopol, to keep flying the Ukrainian flag. This was quickly put to an end when 40 armed men from the so-called local “self-defense” forces removed it on 22 April 2014, injuring 3 women. Later, the Mejlis representatives were handed a warning against extremist activities. So began the era of repressions against the Medjlis and its representatives. Nataliya Poklonskaya threatened to dissolve the Mejlis if it did not stop its “extremist activities” after the Crimean Tatar protest against Mustafa Dzhemilev’s ban to enter Crimea.

The major offensive on the Mejlis began on 16 September, when an 11-hour search by the Russian FSB resulted in confiscation of the Mejlis minutes, religious books and personal items belonging to Mustafa Dzhemilev. The next day, on September 17, the Mejlis andCrimea Fund that is providing it its premises in Simferopol was ordered to “evacuate” the building within 24 hours.

Rize Shevkiev, head of Crimea Fund. Photo: qtmm.org

The following day the Fund was fined 50 000 rubles (around $1 200) for failing to accomplish this impossible task. The Fund The Fund’s assets and bank accounts were frozen on fabricated charges.The story ended with the Mejlis leaving the building, the Crimea Fund being fined for 4,5 mn rubles, and facing charges of not administering proper care to the building of historical value. Rize Shevkiev, the head of the Crimea Fund, which is the main charity of the Crimean Tatars, is also facing a fine of 350 000 rubles and has had a criminal investigation opened against him. The new occupation authorities headed by Sergey Aksyonov have ignored the Mejlis’ proposals on establishing relations/dialogue. Aksyonov had been quoted as saying that he does not plan to speak with the Mejlis until it is registered as an NGO, which is unacceptable to the Crimean Tatar community.

The Mejlis building with Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian flags waving.

There is another Mejlis located in the historical capital of the Crimean Tatars, Bakhchysarai. TheBakhchysarai Mejlis, like the central one in Simferopol, is also facing eviction from its building after a mysterious court hearing that no member of the Mejlis heard about.

Every member of the Mejlis can expect a search of his home. – Deputy Mejlis Head Nariman Dzhelyal

Head of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov continues to lead it from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, where he is forced to live after the 5-year banned imposed on him, but the Russian occupation authorities do not cease to repress leaders of the Crimean Tatar community. Deputy Head of the Mejlis Akhtem Chiygoz has been arrested on surreal charges of “organizing mass disturbances” against the seizure of the Crimean Parliament on 26 February 2014 – weeks before Russia illegally annexed the peninsula. Over the last year, repressions of Mejlis members have become a regular activity: as newly elected Deputy Mejlis Head Nariman Dzhelyal said after his 5-hour interrogation on 28 March 2015, “Every member of the Mejlis can expect a search of his home.”

3. Repressions and persecution

Freedom of assembly dismissed

On  16 May 2014, head of the puppet government in Crimea Sergey Aksenov banned mass assemblies, on the eve of the Crimean Tatars’ annual commemoration of the anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of their people in 1944. The annual celebration of the Day of the Crimean Tatar flag in Simferopol on June 26, the demonstration dedicated to the pan-European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Stalinism and Nazism on August 23, and the action timed to the International Day of Human Rights on December 10 were all forbidden. Moreover, the new Crimean occupation government has even erected a monument to the Soviet dictator Stalin responsible for evicting180 000 Crimean Tatars from their native Crimea, sparking outrage from the Tatar community.

Harassment and searches

Mejlis members were and are continuously being threatened by men in camouflage, who claim to be representatives of the same “self-defense forces.” On 7 May 2014, Mejlis member Abduraman Egiz was assaulted in Simferopol.  Ismet Yuksel, General Director of the Crimean News Agency [QHA] and adviser to the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar on relations with Turkey, was banned entry into Crimea for five years similar to Mustafa Dzhemilev. Mejlis members are regularly harassed at the border between mainland Ukraine and Crimea - Gayana Yuksel and Emine Avamileva are two recent examples. Crimean Tatar scholar Nadir Bekir was prevented from attending a UN General Assembly special session on indigenous peoples when a group of people in balaklavas stopped the taxi in which he was heading to catch a plane to the conference and took away his passport and mobile phone (it’s noteworthy that the same story repeatedwith small ethnic groups representatives, citizens of Russia, attempting to leave for the same conference – passports taken away, cars stopped). But searches in homes of regular Crimean Tatars and participants of protests have also become commonplace.

Read more…

Index of Russian Propaganda Efficiency

March 31, 2015

Between February 14 and February 24, 2015 Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted the nation-wide public opinion poll. The survey was conducted in 108 settlements in all regions of Ukraine, (except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) according to the random sample, which is representative for adult population of Ukraine (aged 18 and over). Totally 2013 respondents were interviewed face-to-face during the field stage. In Donetsk and Luhansk regions the poll was conducted both in territories controlled by Ukraine’s government forces, and territories controlled by separatist forces. Statistical sample error (with probability of 0.95 and design-effect of 1.5) does not exceed 3.3% for indicators close to 50%; 2.8% for indicators close to 25%; 2.0% for indicators close to 10%; 1.4% for indicators close to 5%.

Russia’s information warfare against Ukraine helped Russia to reach success in annexation of Crimea, to gain support for those actions from its population and to provoke the war in Donbass. Information warfare is of the same importance for defense of Ukraine’s unity and independence as military actions. It is unknown what is more effective in this struggle. It could be that providing a part of resources, spent on the war, not for mobilization, weapons and equipment, but for defense from Russian propaganda, would be more efficient way to save the lives of our military men than direct financing of weaponization.

Effective action on countering Russian propaganda in Donbass can reduce the number of people who enroll into separatist forces, and also deprive the aggressor of the opportunity to involve the people from other eastern and southern regions of Ukraine into the confrontation. And if to succeed in dispelling some myths shared by the Russia people, and to decrease support of Putin’s actions among the citizens of Russia, it would significantly weaken the Russia’s abilities to escalate military actions.

The idea of creating Russian Propaganda Efficiency Index (RPE)

1. It is impossible to conduct counterpropaganda without estimation of its effectiveness. The efficiency of counterpropaganda can be measured as the reduction of Russian propaganda efficiency per unit of expenses. That is why the index of Russian propaganda efficiency is needed.
2. Index of Russian propaganda efficiency, which we offer, can become a tool for evaluation of Ukraine’s counterpropaganda measures in different regions and among different social groups.
3. Under efficiency of Russian propaganda in Ukraine we mean the spread of supporting main ideas of Russian propaganda among citizens of Ukraine, or among people in different regions.

The idea is to select such statements of official Russian propaganda, which are trusted by more than 80% of Russian citizens, in other words – statements which proved their effectiveness in Russia and on occupied territory.

We think that the core of propaganda is a quasi-logical chain of reasoning:
Euromaidan was organized by Americans and nationalists → as a result of Euromaidan, the power was taken by nationalists, who pose a threat to Russian-speaking people → Crimea and Eastern Ukraine were in danger → Crimea managed to avoid the threat by joining Russia, but Eastern Ukrainian oblasts rebelled and demand autonomy and security guarantees → nationalists who seized the power started the war against their own people.

So we developed a number of statements which cover the main theses of this quasi-logical chain – statements on Euromaidan, attitudes toward United States, support to annexation of Crimea, disapproval of ATO, confidence in Russian media, distrust the Ukrainian media.

Survey findings

Index of RPE can be used to evaluate changes over time in propaganda efficiency and to compare harm caused by Russian propaganda to people from different regions and from different social-demographic groups. The mean value of RPE index for general population of Ukraine is 26; now we can’t evaluate dynamics because it is the first round of the survey.

By gender and age:

– There is no essential differences by gender and age (see tables in appendix): female (RPE = 28) are slightly more amenable to propaganda, than male (RPE = 25),
– People aged over 70 years (RPE = 29) are slightly more likely to believe in Russian propaganda than in average for Ukraine (RPE = 26).

By level of education:

– The influence of education is also not crucial – people with higher education are slightly less amenable to propaganda (RPE=24) than in average for Ukraine.

By regions:

– The most significant differences in predisposition to believe Russian propaganda are connected with a region of residence. Russian propaganda has the least influence on people in Western (index of RPE=12) and Central oblasts (RPE=19)
– In Southern oblasts the index is significantly higher (RPE = 32)
– In Eastern oblasts (RPE=48) the index of RPE is four times more than in Western regions. We can see that Eastern region is problematic and needs serious efforts to counter Russian propaganda. The situation in Southern oblasts is also not fully trouble-free.

роспропаганди

ропропоганда2

– As we can see on Chart 2, Russian propaganda (aside from Donbass) is strongly influencing the residents of Kharkiv (index of RPE = 50)and Odessa (index of RPE = 43) oblasts.
– The situation in Kherson, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhya oblasts is much better (index of RPE = 28-29).
– In Kyiv the situation is similar to those of the other places in Northern and Central Ukraine (index of RPE=19).

Unfortunately, sample size of 2000 respondents is not sufficient to get reliable figures for each oblast of Ukraine. If to aggregate the data from one or two more surveys, we can get representative results for each oblast. So the numbers presented here for oblasts are just indicative.

But in spite of this, we can suppose that there is a strong need for active counterpropaganda actions in Kharkiv and Odessa oblasts.
Components of Russian Propaganda Efficiency Index (KIIS surveys, frequency tables, February 2015)

1. Please tell me which of the two following statements comes closer to your opinion? Euromaidan was…

Read more…

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad Says Media Is Responsible For ‘Malicious Propaganda’

March 31, 2015

Posted: 03/30/2015 1:04 pm EDT

Earlier this year, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found“with a high degree of confidence” that chlorine gas had been used in Northern Syria in 2014. President Bashar al-Assad has chosen to fight the allegations with an all too familiar defense.

In a tense interview with CBS News’ Charlie Rose Sunday night, Assad lashed out at the media, accusing the press of disseminating “malicious propaganda against Syria.”

Though Rose hedged his language to a certain extent — referring to the use of chlorine and barrel bombs as something “people look down on” — the “60 Minutes” correspondent pressed Assad to answer for the claims.

“There are weapons of war that have been used that most people look down on,” Rose said. “One is chlorine gas, they believe it has been used here. They say there is evidence of that and they would like to have the right to inspect to see where it’s coming from. As you know, barrel bombs have been used and they come from helicopters. And the only people who have helicopters is the Syrian Army.”

“So those two acts of war, which society looks down on as barbaric acts,” he continued.

Assad shrugged off the allegations, claiming chlorine is “not military gas” and “not very effective,” and denied the existence of barrel bombs — crude improvised explosive devices containing nails and shrapnel. The U.N. has attempted to outlaw the use of barrel bombs.

“As you know, in the media, when it bleeds it leads,” Assad told Rose, adding that he would be willing to invite a delegation to inspect his weapons. “And they always look for something that bleeds, which is the chlorine gas and the barrel bombs.”

Read more…

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