Brussels Urges Major Companies to Cease Advertising in Pro-Kremlin Media in Bulgaria

EU | April 28, 2024, Sunday // 09:48|  views

Brussels has called upon 15 prominent companies, including Lidl, Coca-Cola, and L'Oréal, to halt their advertising campaigns in pro-Kremlin media outlets across Bulgaria. This directive, outlined in a letter from European Parliament members, aims to curb the spread of harmful misinformation and propaganda.

According to reports from the authoritative Brussels publication Politico, the European Parliament members have instructed the targeted companies to "rigorously review their advertising policies" to ensure that their spending does not inadvertently fund media known for spreading false narratives.

The letter, spearheaded by Bulgarian conservative MEP Andrey Kovachev and signed by 15 other deputies from various political parties, emphasizes the need for vigilance in combating anti-democratic narratives, particularly during this pivotal election year.

The companies singled out in the letter span a range of industries, from retail giants like Lidl and Delhaize Group to household names like Coca-Cola and Samsung. Kovachev underscored the severity of the situation, stating that "anti-democratic narratives by malicious forces are a serious threat to our democracy".

The call to action comes amid growing concerns over the proliferation of fake news and foreign interference ahead of Bulgaria's parliamentary elections in June. Disinformation experts warn of the insidious tactics employed by pro-Kremlin media outlets to manipulate public opinion and undermine democratic processes.

Highlighting the unwitting role that global brands play in legitimizing pro-Russian propaganda, the letter urges companies to reconsider their advertising partnerships and reallocate their budgets away from platforms that compromise truth and integrity.

The initiative is backed by the Balkan Initiative for Free Media, a non-governmental organization based in Brussels, which has been vocal in exposing the financial ties between major brands and media outlets known for spreading Kremlin-backed narratives.

While only Lidl has publicly responded to the publication, denying any contractual relations with pro-Russian media in Bulgaria, the broader implications of the directive signal a concerted effort to safeguard democratic values and combat the spread of disinformation in the region.

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Tags: Brussels, companies, Pro-Kremlin, media, Bulgaria


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