The Russia desk also works closely with our teams in Ukraine. That too is a reinforcement. Correspondents Elin Jönsson and Bengt Norborg and photographers alternate presence on site. At the same time, our coverage of the security policy situation has been expanded with Christoffer Wendick in Berlin. Just last week, Christoffer got an interview with President Zelensky, the first longer interview with Zelenskyj in the Swedish media since the start of the Great War.
It is a war unlike any other. We have never seen so much moving image, or so many images of individuals, taken outside the control of the armies. And there is a huge difference in strategy from the sides. “There are 10,000 Ukrainian votes for every Russian,” someone said, and it’s not an exact figure, but it says something about the difficulties.
The Ukrainian side shows a new type of communication skills where humor is used and various memes, a new type of tone matching that alludes to emotions. There are also initiatives here that encourage hacking: “this is how you attack Russia”.
Another emerging movement is individuals verifying clips and posts and then openly sharing the results by showing how the review was done and geolocation.
SVT’s Russia desk believes that most of the material on social media is genuine and that misinformation is more common than pure disinformation, which has the intention of being misleading. Real events that happened a long time ago, and in a different context, spread and become misinformation online. Newsrooms need to detect all kinds of inaccuracies if they are spread: in the intention of a state, rumours, or perhaps pure hopes of positive news that are not true.
Free journalism means scrutiny of all parties. It is a matter of course to tell how the foreign minister changed the tone towards the Russian espionage before and after the election The moderates’ harsh demands about Russian spies – before the election | SVT News Link to other website. and how the new law against foreign espionage makes scrutiny more difficult SVT: The Pentagon leak shows the shortcomings of the new spy law (aftonbladet.se) Link to other website.
Russia’s attack on a neighbor, in violation of international law, worsened the security situation in Europe overnight. The consequences and human suffering are immense. At SVT, we have re-prioritized to sharpen journalism and scrutiny.
Today is the International Press Freedom Day. I represent SVT and the industry organization for Swedish media, Utgivarna, when I say: threats to press freedom trigger us publicists.
Russia is constantly reaching new lows with its repression of dissent. Then we’ll lift off. Attacks on press freedom must be met with even more free journalism. When they go low, we go high.
We must do even more, even better, even more socially important journalism. It is our way of strengthening free speech and democracy.