During their meeting on 6 May 2015 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Nordic and Baltic Ministers for Foreign Affairs discussed the ongoing campaign of biased media coverage by mainstream Russian media, including in relation to the crisis in Ukraine but also in a wider context.
The NB8 has made this topic one of its focus areas in 2015 with a view to identifying common approaches. Meetings gathering media professionals as well as other like-minded states and international organizations have contributed to clarifying the need to support free media (i.a. in Riga on 27 January 2015, Copenhagen on 27 February 2015 and a related meeting in Vilnius on 9-10 March).
The NB8 Ministers for Foreign Affairs underlined that propaganda and disinformation undermine the concept of independent media, which is a fundamental precondition for free and pluralistic democracies. The NB8 Ministers for Foreign Affairs therefore highlighted the following three approaches:
1) The Ministers remain committed to furthering strategic communication, based on facts and openness, and to supporting independent media.
2) The Ministers expressed their support to initiatives aiming at reaching out to Russian-speakers with alternative sources of information. The aim is to ensure a pluralistic media landscape, where all people have easy access to independent information. We support that public service actors and private initiatives in all NB8 States share their know-how and join hands in these efforts. Ministers agreed to look into a mechanism to counter disinformation. Furthermore, the NB8 should look into joint efforts to support capacity-building in free and independent media.
3) The Ministers support i.a. the efforts undertaken by the European Endowment for Democracy with respect to supporting Russian-language media in the Eastern Partnership States and beyond.
Full text of the statement available on the Danish Foreign Ministry’s website.