Russian embassy threatens the Swiss newspaper- The Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger received a letter from the Russian embassy in Bern threatening legal action should it publish a Putin clown meme that had been circulating on social media. The embassy argued that the meme amounts to defamation and insults Russia’s president.
While this particular example might seem trivial, it serves as a warning about how countries can use free speech concerns to justify censorship. As technology continues to evolve and more and more content is created and shared online, it’s important to be aware of potential legal ramifications when posting memes or other online content.
The Russian embassy in Switzerland threatened a Swiss newspaper after it published a Putin clown meme.
On Wednesday, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger published a Putin clown meme on its website. The embassy responded by issuing a statement threatening legal action if the newspaper does not remove the meme.
“The Russian embassy is planning to take appropriate legal steps in case the article about Putin clowns is not removed from the website of Tages-Anzeiger,” the statement said. “It goes without saying that any such actions would be justified and would not be taken in vain.”
The Russian embassy also accused Swiss journalists of being “anti-Russian.”
Comedian and political commentator John Oliver slammed the Russian embassy’s reaction on his show, “Last Week Tonight.” Oliver called Putin’s Russia an “authoritarian kleptocracy” and compared it to America under George W. Bush.
The meme was originally posted on Twitter by German comedian Jan Böhmermann and quickly went viral.
The Russian embassy in Bern released a statement on Twitter saying that the publication of the meme is “unacceptable and unprofessional”.
The Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger published an article about the meme, which received criticism from Russian readers.
The Russian embassy in Bern released a statement on Twitter saying that the publication of the meme is “unacceptable and unprofessional”. The Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger published an article about the meme, which received criticism from Russian readers.
Many people in Russia found the image of Putin with a large, green nose and lips reminiscent of the character Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, which caused some to call for Böhmermann to be prosecuted for racism. Others took issue with what they saw as Western hypocrisy, given that many other images featuring figures from politics and entertainment are regularly shared on social media without any backlash.
The Russian embassy accused the Swiss newspaper of violating diplomatic norms and called for an apology.
On Thursday, the Swiss daily Blick published a cartoon of Russian President Vladimir Putin with a clown’s face superimposed on his. The image was taken from a recent interview in which Putin made light of the U.S. presidential election and said he would have won if he had run.
Shortly after Blick published the cartoon, the Russian embassy in Bern released a statement accusing the newspaper of violating diplomatic norms and calling for an apology from the staff. According to the embassy, publishing images of Putin that are “humiliating or offensive” is not acceptable under any circumstances.
The Russian ambassador to Switzerland also demanded that Blick publish a retraction and an apology “within 24 hours.” However, as of press time, neither has happened yet.
In response to the embassy’s statement, Swiss officials say they will not apologize for the cartoon and that they “will not be cowed by threats.” Blick editor-in-chief Dominik Obermair says he is “absolutely not” intimidated and plans to continue publishing articles critical of Russia.
The Swiss newspaper defended its decision to publish the meme and called for a diplomatic response from Russia instead of threats.
The Swiss newspaper Der Bund published a controversial Putin clown meme on its front page last week, prompting a response from the Russian embassy in Bern. Ambassador Vladimir Kotelnik condemned the decision, accusing the newspaper of violating Switzerland’s neutrality and insulting the Russian president. Kotelnik called for a diplomatic response from Switzerland instead of threats, but Der Bund defended its decision to publish the meme and called for a diplomatic response from Russia instead of threats.
This is the latest in a series of incidents involving Russian
embassies and Swiss newspapers. In late March, a Russian embassy press officer
threatened a Swiss newspaper after it published a satirical Putin clown meme. The embassy argued that the meme could create a hostile climate and incite violence, and asked the paper to remove it.
This is not the first time that Switzerland has come under attack from Russian officials. Earlier this year, Russian officials threatened to expel several Swiss diplomats after a satirical video depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin as a dinosaur went viral online.
In that case, too, the Swiss government argued that the video could create a hostile climate and incite violence. Switzerland has been a strong ally of the United States throughout the Trump administration, and it has been critical of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and its aggression in Europe. Switzerland has also been vocal in its criticism of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. These incidents underscore the importance of freedom of speech and expression, both in Switzerland and around the world. They also underscore the need for vigilance in monitoring Russian activity, particularly in light of Russia’s interference in other countries elections.