10.03.2016 Daugavpils Branch of Latvia's Russian Community letter regarding the BBC provocation
February 19, 2016
Lord Hall of Birkenhead CBE
Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast Centre (BC2 D4 M1), 201 Wood Lane London, W12 7TP
On Fake Report on Clashes in Daugavpils used in Film
“World War Three: Inside the War Room”
Dear Mr Hall,
The pseudo-documentary “World War Three: Inside the War Room” was created by your corporation and aired on February 3 and 4 this year. This programme investigated a hypothetical beginning of the World War Three. According to the BBC film, the residents of our city, Daugavpils, are the most real threat for peace in the world. Because you have failed to get any evidence in the life of our country to support this fantasy, you have hired actors who played us as you prefer to perceive us – as uncivilized, cruel, violent and aggressive. We are shown as people who deserve neither attention nor sympathy. The documentary style of presentation convinces viewers that they see a real report from Daugavpils.
The authors of this mad scenario made a lot of factual mistakes, which reflected the superficial attitude to collecting the facts for the investigation. But a crucial mistake is one – the BBC hasn’t and cannot have at its disposal any evidence for facts of violence between ethnic communities in contemporary Latvia. We’ve faced a lot of problems in relations between Latvian government and Russian minority of this state, but during all 25 years after the restoration of independence all those problems are solved exclusively by peaceful political means. And there is no evidence that we or our state are turning to violence at present. Latvia as a whole and the city of Daugavpils, in particular, could serve as an example of peaceful coexistence of various cultures and people of different origin. The BBC pseudo-documentary worsens the relations between communities of our country, and incites hatred towards Latvia’s Russian minority on the international level.
The municipality of Daugavpils, as well as our business companies, university and NGOs, have been working hard for decades in order to create a positive image of our city, attracting investments, tourists and students. Taking into account the BBC influence and size of its audience, the reputational damage, caused to our city by airing BBC fake report on clashes in Daugavpils, cannot be overestimated.
Our NGO represents the Russian-speaking population of Daugavpils. We are now expecting a fair investigation of the fake report produced by BBC and sincere apologies to the residents of Daugavpils. We hope that such measures taken by BBC administration would be able to restore the high journalistic standards, which had been a sign of your company for many decades.
DBLRC Chairman Aleksejs Vasiļjevs
DBLRC Vice Chairman Jevgenijs Drobots