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La Stampa responds to disinformation claims over Donetsk photo

© Twitter/@rusembitaly
Samizdat | March 17, 2022

Italian newspaper La Stampa said on Thursday it didn’t do anything wrong when it printed a frontpage image showing the aftermath of a ballistic missile strike on Donetsk, the capital of a breakaway republic in eastern Ukraine, while promising readers coverage of Russian attacks in Kiev and Lvov.

The photograph was meant to demonstrate the “clear horror of the war” and not to assign blame to any particular party, editor-in-chief Massimo Giannini said in an interview with La7 TV channel, responding to criticism of his editorial choices. He said his newspaper didn’t try to mislead readers, despite what detractors say.

“The thing that bothers me most and pains me a lot is that there are also some people here in Italy, some disgraced people of the web, who amplify this and call it a case of disinformation. Where is the disinformation?” he asked.

The Wednesday issue of the paper featured a full-page photo of a street littered with dead bodies, with a man covering his face in grief. “The Carnage,” the headline read. Short text teasers promised stories further in the paper about the “traumatized children in Lvov” and “Kiev preparing for the final assault” by Russian troops.

The photograph was taken on Monday in Donetsk, the capital of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, after its center was struck by a tactical Tochka-U ballistic missile. Its leadership and Russia said Ukraine was the only party that could have launched it and that the rocket’s warhead was a cluster weapon, designed to kill unprotected soldiers in a wide area.

The attack on Donetsk killed 21 civilians and injured scores of others. Moscow called it a terrorist attack and a war crime. The Russian embassy in Italy, responding to La Stampa’s frontpage, said the newspaper didn’t bother to cover it.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Thursday that the Italian news outlet, as with other Western mainstream media, was intentionally “distorting the perceptions of its own readers.”

The missile attack proved once again how strong the influence of radical nationalists was on Ukrainian armed forces, the Russian official said. NATO members allowed those forces to entrench themselves in the country “while the media kept silent,” she pointed out. La Stampa’s use of the photo stands out among examples of fake news and is “a real crime,” she asserted.

Lvov, a city in western Ukraine, is now a major destination for refugees fleeing the fighting in other parts of the country. The capital, Kiev, is partially encircled by Russian troops and has been damaged to some extent amid the fighting. The Ukrainian side alleges Russia is deliberately attacking civilians in Kiev to terrorize them. Moscow denies the claim and blames civilian casualties on Ukrainian troops, who allegedly deploy their artillery and anti-aircraft weapon systems near civilian facilities, which get hit by return fire.

March 17, 2022 - Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering

1 Comment »

  1. Dunno — I’ve read this and tried to make sense of it 3 times, and the Samizdat reporting seems unclear/incoherent/unsmooth/chaotic. Did La Stampa, via the Donetsk photo, imply or charge outright that RUSSIA was the perpetrator?–I don’t think that point is made clear in the Samizdat text (and I don’t read Italian—>Twitter link). If not, why can’t La Stampa (i.e., be forced to) issue a simple clarification? If Samizdat is trying to “clarify” the “faux”(?) news, I sure don’t think it did a creditable/journalistic job of it…. (Can’t the REmbassy, or a discerning reader, prepare and have an op-ed published to clarify the issue/chide La Stampa for deficient/insufficient background/context?)

    (BTW, what is “Samizdat”? I tried to link to it above…no luck…. Have seen its byline a couple of times, but can’t identify it…should obviously search for its position in the “news” industry and/or bona fides….)


    Comment by roberthstiver | March 17, 2022 | Reply

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