Huh? Ukrainian media outlet fined for calling neo-Nazi group a ‘neo-Nazi group’ on Twitter
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A far-right group in Ukraine takes its name from a notorious 14-word phrase by white supremacist David Lane. Most would describe it as a “neo-Nazi” group, but a Ukrainian court has ruled against a media outlet for doing just that.
C14’s name is inspired by Lane’s infamous proclamation, one of the most widely-used rallying cries for white nationalists around the world: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Yet, Kiev-based Hromadske TV has been slapped with a fine equivalent to $136 for the sin of describing the neo-Nazi group as a “neo-Nazi group” in a Twitter post from May 2018. The average salary in the country is around $380.
The Ukrainian court ruled in favor of the notoriously ultra-nationalist C14, which denies having neo-Nazi sympathies, despite some of its own members having admitted those leanings.
But wait, how could this be? Western-funded organizations and ‘fake-news busting’ projects have repeatedly claimed that the dangerously rising nationalism in Ukraine is just a myth spread by dastardly Russian media.
Take the Brussels-funded ‘EU vs. Disinfo’ project, which claimed just last month that “all manifestations of Nazism are banned in Ukraine” and talk of rising nationalism is just a “pro-Kremlin narrative.”
In her ruling, Judge Yulia Kartavtseva said the label “neo-Nazi” was “damaging” to the group’s “reputation” — but C14 doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation as it is.
The group was responsible for violently demolishing and burning a Roma camp in Kiev last year and then boasting about it on Facebook. The radicals chased the terrified group of Roma, including young children, through the streets while spraying gas canisters and throwing stones at them. The day they chose for this attack was April 20, Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
Despite their violent activities, however, C14 has received Ukrainian government funding to run “national-patriotic education projects” at youth summer camps, according to a Hromadske report last year.
The fine handed down to Hromadske caused uproar among Ukraine-watchers on Twitter, with some questioning how the country could combat the scourge of radical neo-Nazi groups if the media is not allowed to report on their existence or use the correct terms to describe them.
Even the US State Department branded C14 a “nationalist hate group” in the wake of their attack on the Roma camps.
Hromadske said the decision sets a “dangerous precedent for other media and for freedom of expression in general.” It will appeal the ruling.
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