March 2, 2022
A Statement from Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
The first casualty of war is often the truth. As Russia invades and attacks the sovereignty of Ukraine, one of Putin's main tools to provide cover for his invasion has been disinformation on Spanish-language media. The bolstering of lie after lie, meant to disrupt or confuse the actual situation on the ground, is something we have seen from other authoritarians in the past as they seek to hide their war crimes.
To control the narrative and avoid repercussions for the violent invasion of Ukraine, Putin and Russia’s disinformation machine has been in full swing. Through their state-run media, such as RT en Español, and right wing supporters or bots on social media, Russia has been spewing false propaganda targeting Latinos and Spanish-speaking communities with the goal of confusing and influencing the political discourse both domestically and throughout Latin America.
However, due to the efforts of the Biden Administration to unite NATO and properly disclose intelligence to inform the world of Russia’s intentions, Putin’s true motives are in plain sight. The recent announcement from certain platforms to block ads from Russian state-media outlets and to limit their ability to monetize from publications, was welcomed news. However, given the lack of content moderation on non-English content by platforms in the past, these platforms must be hyper aware and vigilant of disinformation targeting Latinx.
If the truth is hidden, atrocities and war crimes are bound to occur, and prevent a coalition of nations to unite and repel attacks from authoritarians such as Putin. While the world’s most powerful nations unfortunately still possess colonial territories across the world, the age of imperial conquest is over. Our system of international laws and norms unequivocally admonish and censure the military overthrow of legitimate democracies. That is why NHMC supports the courage of the Ukrainian people and Government, and demands that social media platforms and all forms of media reject all forms of Russian disinformation.
Yours in the Movement,
Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition