Germany Seeks to Counter Russian ‘Propaganda’ in Baltics

   < < Go Back
from The Wall Street Journal,

Berlin to train journalists, provide Russian-language content to broadcasters in region.

Germany said it would help train journalists from Baltic countries and provide Russian-language content to television networks there, in one of the most concrete responses yet to what Western officials call Moscow’s propaganda assault in Eastern Europe.

On a tour of the region—Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia—on Thursday and Friday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Berlin would bring Baltic journalists to train and study in Germany and advise Baltic governments on news media regulation.

It also will offer content produced in Germany aimed at Russian speakers in the three former Soviet republics, who at present often get their news from Russian state television—more than a decade after joining the European Union.

The EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are considering their own strategies to counter the Russian media’s depiction of the Ukraine crisis and Moscow’s showdown with the West. Western officials are particularly concerned about the Baltic states, where they fear Russian efforts to spread anti-Western attitudes among Russian-speaking minorities.

“With regard to this massive, expanded propaganda by Russia, in this case there are very concrete things that will be implemented,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said after meeting with Mr. Steinmeier in Riga. “I think it will be the first real support for the measures we are taking for implementing strategic communications.”

Moscow had no immediate comment on the German plan. Russian officials describe Western news outlets such as the BBC and CNN as propaganda platforms, and allege Western governments spend more on propaganda than Russia does.

German officials say they are seeking to spread Western journalistic values in former Communist countries.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):