BETWEEN PROPAGANDA AND INFORMATION

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BETWEEN PROPAGANDA AND INFORMATION

Izvestia, March 19, 2003, p. 3 EV

The Duma intends to discuss in the first reading a range of bills concerning journalists’ activities. Journalists stated at the recent “Media on the eve of elections: voluntarily and according to the new law” conference that amendments, which the Duma intends to consider, will damage freedom of speech. Many journalists said that the new amendments will become a method for suppressing the independent media. The point is that is a newspaper or TV channel violates the law twice during one election campaign the Central Electino Committee will have the right to initiate the abolishment of this media source. Representatives of the CEC answered: only these amendments can stop “black propaganda and dirty election technologies”.

Alexander Veshnyakov, head of the CEC, said: “The amendments is now a blow on freedom of speech. This is a blow on freedom of lie, “black cash”, dirty technologies, and the misuse of the administrative resource.” According to him, the amendments will not make it possible to abolish media sources. “On the contrary, legislative innovations will protect journalists from officials.” Even if someone complains to court about a media source, which has violated the law, the media source will be able to challenge the court decision in the court of appeal. This procedure can be used if a media source violates the law again. The court will only be able to make a decision to suspend a media source until the end of an election campaign after it receives a third complaint.

ON THE EVE OF ANOTHER DESERT STORM

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, March 19, 2003, EV

Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev, who recently met with Russian journalists covering a Duma delegation’s visit to the Czech republic, commented on George W. Bush’s position toward Iraq as follows. Gennady Seleznev thinks that a military operation against Iraq with the UN’s sanction “will be an aggression, and the aggressor may face the Hague tribunal”. He said: “I do not understand whom the US intends to fight – Saddam Hussein or Iraq.” According to Gennady Seleznev, it’s stupid to concentrate troops because of only one person. The US will ruin Iraq under the pretext of the necessity of overthrowing Hussein. In reality, the US seeks to conquer all oil reserves and establish a new world order.

According to Gennady Seleznev, Syria, Libya, Iran, and other nations may become next targets for the US.

ZHIRINOVSKY: WORLD WAR III HAS BEGUN

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, March 19, 2003, EV

The council of the lower house of parliament has decided to postpone the ratification of the US-Russian agreement on strategic offensive weapons.

Deputies have made this decision owing to the aggravation of the situation over Iraq and Washington’s ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. Georgy Boos said that “the new circumstances and Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty contributed to this decision”. By the way, Deputy Duma Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky described these circumstances as “the beginning of World War III, which will last for three years”.

A WAR ON IRAQ WILL PROVOKE AN UNPRECEDENTED WAVE OF TERRORISM

Trud, March 19, 2003, EV

Gennady Gudkov, a member of the Duma security committee (deputy chair of the National Party), thinks that a war on Iraq is the beginning of fundamental changes in the world, a serious crisis of the United Nations, and a break-up of the collective security system. The parliamentarian said: “First days of a war on Iraq will provoke a gigantic wave of terrorist attacks. This is a real threat to the entire world, including Russia.”

The deputy does not rule out that the ruling regimes supporting international terrorism will soon be replaced in some Arab and Middle Eastern nations. Gennady Gudkov said: “Events in Serbia and attacks on US bases in Japan are childish sports in comparison with what may happen within a week. Hundreds hotbeds of international terrorism may appear.”

The parliamentarian thinks that it may become risky to spend vacations in Turkey. He said: “If US troops land in Turkey tourism will stop; three or four explosions in hotels, and Turkey’s tourist business will be ruined.”

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