RSF condemns the occupiers for recruiting the youth to spread propaganda
"Reporters Without Borders" condemns the Russian occupiers for recruiting young people in the temporarily occupied part of Zaporizhzhia oblast to a propagandist school, writes the organization in the statement provided to IMI.
As IMI reported, the Russians are recruiting young people to work in propaganda media outlets in the temporarily occupied part of Zaporizhia oblast, collecting their personal details, including clothing size. The "media school" is being organized by a Russian project – the media center "Mediatopol", which has been spreading anti-Ukraine propaganda in the temporarily occupied part of the oblast since November 2022. Recruiting announcements are being distributed by the propaganda Telegram channel "#YugMolodoy" and targets the youth in the temporarily occupied territories.
"Facing a lack of journalists who are willing to cooperate, the new Kremlin-run propaganda bodies are trying to recruit their future 'information soldiers' among the local youth. The RSF condemns this method, which aims at integrating the Ukrainian territories through the media landscape that is controlled by the occupation authorities," said Jeanne Cavelier, the RSF Head of Eastern Europe & Central Asia Desk.
The RSF reminds that the young people study "journalism" at the "Mediatopol". The center is run by the Russian occupying forces and the volunteer organization "Yug Molodoy" ("Youth of the South"), which organizes pro-Russian events and rallies with young people from the occupied territories.
"Mediatopol" was founded in November 2022 and is officially run by Oleksandr Gurov, aged 20, who is particularly proactive in spreading Russian propaganda. He is a winner of the 2023 contest held by the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs of Russia (Rosmolodezh), which awards projects created by young people in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia oblast.
As reported by IMI, with the start of the full-scale war all Ukrainian media in the temporarily occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia oblast were disabled and replaced with propagandist Russian media and propaganda media holdings were created, namely ZaMedia, which covers television, newspapers, radio and online reporting.
On August 1, 2022, new propaganda TV channel "ZaTV" started working in the occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia oblast. The channel's staff is Russian. The media holding "ZaMedia" also includes the propaganda radio "Za!Radio" and the newspaper "Zaporozhsky Vestnik".
"Reporters Without Borders" have made an investigation titled "The Malkevich Propaganda Machine, the Wagner-allied network in Ukraine", where they outline how the entrepreneur Oleksandr Malkevich created a propaganda machine in Ukraine's south in record time.
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