Open letter from European journalists, media associations to Russian journalists, who are engaged in war propaganda

Kremlin's web
Kremlin's web, Shutterstock

You, the employees of the Russian media, are clearly and directly responsible for one more war started by Putin’s regime. For many years you ignored an important postulate of journalism – verification of information. Instead, you broadcast lies from Kremlin and escalate its degree by arranging long-running pseudo-discussions while not allowing any dissent in essence.

You lied to Russians about the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008; the illegal and illegitimate “referendum” in Crimea in 2014 was presented by you, according to Kremlin guides, as a “triumph of the people’s will”; and now the audience hears from you about the Nazis, who exist only in the manic mind of one perishable, cowardly little man who has locked himself in a deep bunker even from his accomplices. The nonsense and verbiage of not always literally sober and adequate pro-government speakers were presented by you as the ultimate truth. Now the blood of children and elders of Ukraine, the crippled fate of besotted Russian soldiers is on your conscience.

It’s true; Putin’s regime is cruel. Yes, not everyone will have the guts to speak the truth in front of microphones and television cameras. But there is always the opportunity to refuse – not even to quit the job but just not to give out lies publicly. Do not pick up pieces of paper with “news” forged by the Kremlin – at which the sane people of the whole planet loudly laugh. When solidarity wins, the regime will not be capable of finding rats for this dirty and murderous job.

The moment of truth is today. Putin’s clique, which shredded the Constitution numerous times to retain power, destroyed the country’s economy. You now are the direct accomplices and supporters of this criminal regime. Please do not waste your time on futile talk shows and lengthy stories a la “how can we avoid sanctions.” Speak honestly – tell the reasons why these sanctions are introduced. Should you lack courage – again, step aside: take sick leave, go on vacation, take unpaid leave. In a couple of weeks, people who are left without information dope, alone with empty shelves, will draw the proper conclusions themselves. Once again – today, there is still a window to get out of this trap into which you have wittingly or unwittingly fallen.

Perhaps you may lose your job, perhaps you may have a mortgage, but consider – if the country changes – your profession will survive, but if not – what do you need a mortgage apartment for if you cannot, then buy neither wallpaper nor tile, nor a faucet to the kitchen? And you run the risk of becoming representatives of the last generation of Russians who freely travelled abroad or acquired a good car for many years.

To stop working for Putin’s propaganda now means avoiding criminal prosecution. Although adopted by the Putin’s regime, current Russian laws make it quite possible to condemn anyone who contributed to the spread of lies from the Kremlin for promoting an aggressive war. In addition, the investigation of crimes of the Russian military in Ukraine has been already commenced by the International Criminal Court in Hague. Captured Russian soldiers are already testifying that they were deceived by their commanders and Russian television and radio – and this will be enough reason to initiate criminal cases against anyone who will be flagged on the air and in the press with false reports from warmongers.

The monitoring starts at 00:00 on the day following this manifest is published. And the names of those who continue to flood Russia with streams of fakes will be replicated in the world’s leading media.

Margarita Simonyan, for example, will soon be put on the international wanted list. She is the first, but not the last. Humanity will fully repay those who have forgotten the lessons of WWII. The main one is compliance with unleashing the war and killing civilians – the worst crime. And a terrible sin – if words about faith can still touch your souls.

Let us remind you of the fate of Hans Fritsche – the head of the Imperial Radio of the Third Reich. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison – just for participating in the Nazi propaganda machine. And he died in solitary confinement.

Think about it, if your mind hasn’t left you yet – your superiors, when giving orders to publish lies, do not do it in written form. And when the time of reckoning comes, they will declare, in order to mitigate their fate, that you did all this of your own free will. You will be betrayed. The way Russian generals betray their soldiers and officers, leaving them half-naked and hungry to the mercy of fate. And along with criminal cases and harsh sentences, you will also be addressed to the claims of thousands of relatives of those who died in Ukraine from Russian shells and bombs. And your mortgage apartments are definitely not enough to pay them off. Do not turn your life, the life of your parents and children, the life of all Russians into Hell! Get off this crazy carousel of hypocrisy, meanness and deceit. Leave the single criminal alone – in fear of imminent retribution.

Right now. Tomorrow may be too late!

Andrei Bastunets

Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Helle Tiikmaa

President of Estonian Association of Journalists

Dr Wolfgang Ressmann,

Chairman of  National board of public access channels (bvbm), Germany, Organizer Mediadialogue, Ludwigshafen, Germany

Imants Liepiņš

Member of the board of the Latvian Union of Journalists

Ilja Kozins 
Chair of the board of the Latvian Association of Journalists

 Dainius Radzevičius

Chairman of the Lithuanian Journalists union

Krzysztof Skowroński

Chairman of Polish Association of Journalists

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