Stemming the Narrative Flow: The Legal and Psychological Grounding for the European Union's Ban on Russian State-Sponsored Media

To be presented at the 2022 Conference on International Cyber Security: Navigating Narratives in Cyberspace, The Hague, The Netherlands (8-9 November 2022).

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2022-26

Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2022-13

20 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2022

See all articles by Aiden Hoyle

Aiden Hoyle

University of Amsterdam - Department of Psychology

Peter B.M.J. Pijpers

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law

Date Written: September 16, 2022

Abstract

On March 2nd, 2022, in response to malign and anti-Western narratives surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Council of the European Union legally banned two Russian state-sponsored media outlets, RT and Sputnik, within EU borders. The decision of the Council divided opinion. While the ban indeed limits the reach of these Russian ‘organs of influence’, it also infringes on fundamental human rights within the EU. It is therefore pertinent to scrutinise if the benefit of prohibiting the Kremlin’s antagonistic narration is worth the sacrifice of impeding fundamental principles of democracy. How proportional or necessary is the ban? The current article assesses these questions from a psychological and legal perspective. It argues that while the decision to ban RT and Sputnik is legally sound, the justification for the decision would benefit from a more elaborate explanation of balancing off the different (colliding) fundamental rights, not least since the disruptive effect of the RT and Sputnik narration is unsettled. Moreover, instead of a blanket ban, a less stringent and more nuanced approach could be more appropriate, affording the ability to appropriately sanction RT and Sputnik while remaining proportional and mitigating a possible backfire effect.

Keywords: Ukraine-Russian War; narratives; freedom of expression; European Union; proportionality

JEL Classification: K33, K40, F51, F52, N40

Suggested Citation

Hoyle, Aiden and Pijpers, Peter, Stemming the Narrative Flow: The Legal and Psychological Grounding for the European Union's Ban on Russian State-Sponsored Media (September 16, 2022). To be presented at the 2022 Conference on International Cyber Security: Navigating Narratives in Cyberspace, The Hague, The Netherlands (8-9 November 2022)., Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2022-26, Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2022-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4220510 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4220510

Aiden Hoyle (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Department of Psychology ( email )

Nieuwe Achtergracht 129-B
Amsterdam, 1018 WS
Netherlands

Peter Pijpers

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

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