The European Union must actively counter Russian propaganda in Africa, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates, Greens/EFA) said at Monday’s meeting of Special Representatives for the Sahel regions in Prague.
The meeting, organised by the Czech EU Council presidency, was chaired by the EU Special Representative for the Sahel region, Emanuela Del Re who believes Russia is waging a disinformation campaign in Africa against Europe and the West.
“We must collectively counter Russian propaganda more actively,” Lipavský said at the meeting, as quoted by the Czech News Agency.
Lipavský also emphasised Sahel’s importance for European and international security in general but warned against the Russian disinformation machine which is trying to damage the EU’s image in Africa.
Promoting peace, stability, good governance and development in the Sahel region are among Czechia’s long-term efforts, Lipavský added.
Russia has been spreading Pro-Kremlin war narratives since the start of the war in Ukraine. In Nigeria, the social media accounts of prominent journalists were hacked and used for the dissemination of biased information.
According to the Czech state secretary at the foreign ministry Radek Rubeš, the EU should support radio channels in the region, particularly in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, as the free media could disseminate objective news to the public.
On the home front, however, the draft proposal of the Czech 2023 budget does not include resources for the “Programme Africa” which offers humanitarian and development aid to the continent. The Foreign Ministry still hopes it would be able to finance the region from its own budget.
(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)