On 7 November 2023, the US State Department released a statement that had a provocative title, ‘The Kremlin’s Efforts to Covertly Spread Disinformation in Latin America’. The note argued that the ‘Russian government is currently financing an on-going, well-funded disinformation campaign across Latin America’ and that the ‘Kremlin’s ultimate goal appears to be to launder its propaganda and disinformation through local media in a way that feels organic to Latin American audiences’. There were only two examples of these ‘local media’. The statement noted, ‘While the network’s operations are primarily done in concert with Spanish-language outlets Pressenza and El Ciudadano, a broader network of media resources is available to the group to further amplify information’.
El Ciudadano is a Chilean media outlet founded in 2005 by Bruno Sommer Catalan. Pressenza, founded in 2009 in Milan (Italy), is an international news agency that has bureaus in twenty-four countries. Both El Ciudadano and Pressenza are rooted in telling stories of peace and justice.
We are faced with two accusations:
- That we are funded by the Russian government.
- That we are laundering Russian government propaganda and disinformation.
First, we categorically deny that El Ciudadano and Pressenza are funded by the Russian government.
Second, we categorically deny that El Cuidadano and Pressenza are laundries for Russian government propaganda and disinformation.
- We insist that the various international and national organisations join us in condemning this dangerous attack on the media in Latin America.
- We believe that this kind of attack is malicious, and we insist that the US State Department withdraw this accusation as well as publicly apologize to us for maligning our reputations. ‘
David Andersson (Editor, Pressenza).
Bruno Sommer Catalan (Editor, El Cuidadano).