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EU Media Given Pass on Misinformation About Fico

© AP Photo / Petr David JosekFILE - Former Slovak Prime Minister and head of leftist SMER - Social Democracy party Robert Fico arrives for an election rally in Michalovce, Slovakia, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded in a shooting Wednesday May 15, 2024 and taken to hospital. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
FILE - Former Slovak Prime Minister and head of leftist SMER - Social Democracy party Robert Fico arrives for an election rally in Michalovce, Slovakia, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded in a shooting Wednesday May 15, 2024 and taken to hospital. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2024
Last week, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot several times, allegedly by a 71-year-old former mall security guard identified as Juraj C. by authorities. Fico, who opposed many EU policies, including funding Ukraine, is said to be in non-life threatening but critical condition.
The EU censorship apparatus has lowered its mask and shown that it has no issue spreading misinformation, as long as that information supports its narratives. This is evidenced by its coverage of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, both before and after his assassination attempt.

“Originally, the idea was ‘oh, we can’t have this information about Covid,’” explained senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute George Szamuely while on Sputnik’s The Critical Hour. “But it’s now extended to where we can’t have disinformation about Russia and Ukraine. We can’t have disinformation on EU foreign policy, and they intend to crack down on what they call disinformation and malinformation and misinformation [as well].”

The alleged shooter, according to Slovakian authorities, was motivated to assassinate Fico because he disagreed with the policy of Fico’s government on Ukraine, as well as his reforms to the judicial system and public broadcasting in Slovakia. All three issues were criticized by other EU nations and Slovakian opposition parties.
The idea that speech could inspire violence has long been a bludgeon that pro-censorship Western neo-liberals have used to justify the powers over speech that they seek. When the FBI announced in 2020 that it foiled a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, both Whitmer and then-candidate for President Joe Biden blamed then-President Donald Trump for “fomenting” the anger that led to the plot.
Nevermind that it was later revealed that the FBI was largely responsible for the planning and logistics of the plot and several of the defendants were exonerated by a jury of their peers, it was Donald Trump’s words that inspired the conspirators to plot the Governor’s kidnapping and eventual execution.
“When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet, encourage or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit,” Whitmer said.
While the censorship regime in the US is constrained by the First Amendment, forcing them to use alternative methods, in the EU it has become extremely powerful. Sputnik, RT and other Russian media outlets are banned in EU countries and the recently passed Digital Services Act forces social media companies to comply with governmental censorship demands or face massive fines.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.05.2024
Life of Slovak Prime Minister Fico Not in Danger After Assassination Attempt - Gov't
But when it comes to Fico and the mainstream press in the EU, misinformation is allowed to flow freely, even after an assassination attempt on the world leader.
As pointed out in Naked Capitalism, there has been a bevy of articles depicting Fico as a pro-Russian politician who is serving the Kremlin over his people.
But Fico was never shy about his - and his SMER party’s- stance on Ukraine: That aid to Ukraine was not helping Slovakia and that the war has hurt the country militarily and economically. “Not one more bullet” was a common slogan during his campaign. And Fico was democratically elected on that platform, promising after being elected to do everything in his power to kickstart peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
“More killing is not going to help anyone,” Fico said at the time.
But this was enough to get him labeled as “Pro-Putin” despite large support from ordinary Slovakian voters.
It was even said that Fico was a threat to NATO and the EU themselves.
“Such clichés became commonplace in mainstream European press against any non-systemic political leader who stands for his or her country's sovereignty or veers from the EU’s ‘common foreign policy,’ not necessarily in unison with Russia,” argues Sputnik columnist Dmitry Babich.
Prime minister Robert Fico of of Slovakia - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.05.2024
Fico Attack Conjures Up Ghosts of Maverick European Politicians' Strange Deaths
But even after Fico was nearly killed by a Slovakian shooter who was at least partially motivated by his disagreements with Fico, the EU censorship regime continues to allow media in the bloc to blame Fico for his assassination.
"[The alleged shooter is] basically on the same side as all of the EU media, the EU apparat, all the EU political figures who have been denouncing Fico and Slovakia for their supposed pro-Putin, for his supposed pro-Putin agenda, for his being in the service of the Kremlin,” Szamuely explained. “[The media has] come up with another story, which is that, somehow, Fico brought this on himself… because he's such a polarizing figure. He's so divisive and the political atmosphere in Slovakia is very, very toxic. A lot of hatred, a lot of hate speech. And, who's behind it all? Robert Fico."
“So it's a real classic case of blaming the victim rather than addressing the political hate speech that has been emanating from the EU, from the European media that has been targeting Fico for his supposed pro-Russian stance.”
Shortly after Fico was shot and before there were any indications that he would survive, Sky News all but justified the shooting.
“[Slovakia and Hungary] dipped their toes in against aid to Ukraine and against any sort of sympathy to Kiev. They keep saying ‘look, we want the war to finish,’ and by that they mean they want the Russians to succeed and then the war will be over and Ukraine will just surrender and give up territory… now that’s very divisive in Slovakia, it’s divisive in the EU, so it’s not surprising that this sort of event might take place,” the anchor said.
It seems that the fear of hate speech creating violence is only a concern in the EU when that hate speech concerns the EU.
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