The UK’s BBC is struggling to prove the “story” that Russian influence is behind the “Yellow Vest” protests in France, RIA Novosti reported on December 16th.
The outlet posted screenshots of a conversation between a BBC correspondent, Olga Ivshina, and a stringer, covering the “Yellow Vest” protests on social media. Ivshina appears to be quite interested in the person she’s conversating with, more than anything attempting to “squeeze” some information that would lead to the conclusion that “Russia is behind the protests.”
“Maybe some Russian business is making big bucks on it?”
“Maybe they are eating cutlets out there en masse, for example?”
“Or maybe the far-rights are the main troublemakers?”
The conversion also continued, RIA reported:
“Is there a “National Front” on the streets of Paris [which is the former name of Marine Le Pen’s movement, now the National Rally], Ivshina asked. “And if you find these ultra-rightists, will they talk about Putin and Moscow?”
“Well, at least the Russians go to the protests, right?”
“Well you personally came to the protest, is that right?”
“I am a journalist.”
Clearly her quest to “uncover” information appeared to be unsuccessful after she had to even admit that the editorial board is desperate to find a lead:
“Yes, I’m searching for the angles))) The editorial board wants blood, yo)))”
Ria Novosti also recalled that the “Russian influence” story in the “Yellow Vest” protests began was started by Ukraine’s security service, the SBU. It claimed that the protests were organized under the guidance of Russia’s FSB security service and the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
Following the report, the RT asked BBC for a comment.
“As the French Foreign Minister had spoken publicly about media reports of a possible Russian influence in the protests, it was perfectly reasonable for our correspondent to raise the subject,” BBC answered. “However, in the end her reports made no mention of a possible connection with Russia at all. We stand by our impartial, independent journalism.”
Impartial and independent, as long as it forwards the narrative and deems a side “guilty” until proven “innocent.”
Furthermore, the BBC story and conduct appeared to have caught the attention of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
On December 17th, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia’s foreign ministry plans to turn to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) over media reports about BBC’s seeking to find evidence of Russia’s involvement in the ongoing protests in France.
“We will ask this question to international structures. Tomorrow we will refer a corresponding letter to the OSCE to draw its attention to that,” she said, adding that the actions of the BBC journalists are seen as an “absolutely appalling fact.
“It is the United Kingdom that keeps on saying that the Russian mass media, Russian television channels are indulging in propaganda but gives no facts to prove it, only saying that British public activists are filing complaints to Ofcom, a media regulator, and they have to react and reproach our mass media and journalists for alleged unprofessional behavior. Now I have a question to these British media regulators: what do they think about this compilation of facts journalists of their tele and radio companies are indulging in?”
Now it is not about double standards, it is not about politically motivated actions, it is about open propaganda. In this case, it is a flagrant compilation, an attempt to find puzzle pieces for a bigger picture. No doubt of that. Now we see how journalists of the BBC corporation work.”
She also noted that astounding sums of money were allocated in Brussels and the UK to counteract “Russian propaganda,” so why not invest a small part of that money in combating BBC’s propaganda?
Regarding the protests themselves, for the fifth Saturday in a row, the Yellow vest protesters took to the streets on December 15th. According to French authorities, approximately 33,500 protesters appeared nationwide, a drop from the 125,000 who mobilized the weekend before.
In Paris, officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the demonstrators, some of whom were alleged to have set vehicles on fire in the area. Police also used water cannons in an effort to dissipate the masses. There were around 3,000 protesters according to police, compared to about 10,000 in the previous week.
More than 1,700 people were apprehended by authorities for questioning, while 1,220 were taken into custody nationwide, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.
The protests were largely peaceful, however there were still 8,000 officers and 14 armored vehicles deployed in Paris, with 69,000 officers deployed nationwide in a show of Force.
The protests initially began against the increasing fuel prices, due to an increased fuel tax. However, they evolved into protests demanding for French President Emmanuel Macron to step down, in addition to demands for lower taxes, better pensions, and easier university entry conditions.
In total, more than 900 people were injured and 8 have died, with the most recent one happening during the protests on December 16th.
On the day before the protests, the French president called for “calm.”
“Our country needs calm. It needs order. It needs to function normally again.”