Written Answer to a Question: A pan-European TV channel in the Russian language

Answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission to a question(Rule 130) by Inese Vaidere (EPP) regarding “A pan-European TV channel in the Russian language”.

Answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware of the adverse impact that disinformation campaigns can have on Russian-speaking communities in the EU and in neighbouring countries.

The Commission supports the European news channel Euronews, which is widely available in the Baltic EU Member States, Russia and other neighbouring countries. Euronews produces independent information in 12 languages, including Russian, and Russia hosts the channel’s largest audience. For this reason, Euronews can already be seen as fulfiling the role of a pan-European TV channel which projects European views and values in Russian. The possibility of launching a new pan-European TV channel in Russian is currently limited by budgetary constraints.

However, there are further tools available in this domain. The European External Action Service set up a Communication Task Force (East StratCom Task Force) (1) that aims to address disinformation campaigns on the EU in the Eastern neighbourhood and in Russia. This Task Force aims at reaching out to the Russian-speaking population via networks of communicators, journalists and media representatives.

Additional initiatives, including a Russian-language news exchange platform (2) to support independent media, have been launched with EU support and in cooperation with Member States. EU funding has also been granted to the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) (3) – an important partner of EU institutions – to bring more pluralism to the media landscape through supporting a series of small-scale media initiatives in Eastern Partnership countries. This is in line with the conclusions of a feasibility study on “Bringing Plurality and Balance to the Russian Language Media Space” carried out by EED in 2015 (4).

(1) https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en/2116/%20Questions%20and%20Answers%20about%20the%20East%20StratCom%20Task%20Force

(2) https://www.freepressunlimited.org/en/projects/russian-language-news-exchange-supports-independent-media

(3) https://www.democracyendowment.eu/

(4) https://www.democracyendowment.eu/news/bringing-plurality-1/


Question for written answer P-003405/2017
to the Commission
Rule 130
Inese Vaidere (EPP)

Subject: A pan-European TV channel in the Russian language

In recent years, Russian campaigns to spread disinformation and false news have multiplied within Russia and beyond its borders. These campaigns are targeting democratic European elections as well as Russian-speaking audiences in the EU and its neighbouring countries.

The EU needs to be more agile in its response to these disinformation campaigns. In order to contest fake news, the EU must establish a reliable source of information in the Russian language. A pan-European Russian-language TV channel could offer a balanced content: factual information and along with quality entertainment.

In 2015 I wrote to the Commission regarding the need for a pan-European Russian-language TV channel. Taking into account the ever-increasing volume of disinformation coming from Russia, the need is stronger than ever.

A single country does not have the capacity to counteract the Russian disinformation campaigns, but together the EU can create an effective TV channel.

Does the Commission agree that a pan-European TV channel in Russian needs to be established for the Russian-speaking population?

Does the Commission share the view that it would be more beneficial to establish and fund a quality TV channel, rather than to continue funding the ‘Euronews’ channel, the main shareholder of which is an Egyptian telecommunications executive?

View the question and answer on the European Parliament’s website

Source: European Parliament

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