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Russian propaganda entering mainstream news: disinformation experts

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Russian propaganda entering mainstream news: disinformation experts

“If the average Pole does not seem to understand the mission of Russia Today, neither do Americans,” historian Dr Jerzy Targalski has told the Jan Pospieszalski programme on public broadcaster TVP.

“I cannot imagine that the Russians did not try to influence the US presidential election,” added journalist Michał Rachoń.

The “Warto Rozmawiać” (“Worth talking”) programme discussed Russian disinformation. Among guests were Liz Wahl, a former Russia Today journalist, as well as Polish columnist Piotr Legutko, political scientist Dr. Jerzy Targalski, journalist Michał Rachoń and Marcin Rey, a blogger and creator of the "Russian 5th Column in Poland" website.

American journalist Wahl spoke about how she quit her job on the Kremlin-backed Russia Today television channel, and said that Russians are trying to manipulate global public opinion.

Targalski spoke of the dangers of Moscow's TV propaganda, from which dozens of other channels gather their news.

“If the average Pole does not seem to understand the mission of Russia Today, neither do Americans,” Targalski said.

He added that content distributed by Russia Today (or similar channels) is duplicated by niche websites in Poland, claiming to be "right-wing" or "anti establishment". The panelists discussed the Zmiana na Ziemi and WolnaPolska websites.

“There are approximately 20 niche websites in Poland which are poisoning public opinion with Russian-produced propaganda. A recent example of disinformation was the [fake] news that Ukraine had allegedly declared Przemyśl [a city in south-eastern Poland] as territory occupied by Poland. [...] The picture emerging from all these messages is that poor Russia wants to liberate the world, but it is being victimised by NATO,” Targalski said.

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