By Lucas Leiroz | October 19, 2022
The West continues to persecute journalists whose work reveals the reality of the Ukrainian situation. Recently, French filmmaker Anne-Laure Bonnel reported that she received threats and lost her job as a result of her work in the Donbass. Bonnel recorded two documentary films showing the situation of the ethnically Russian people in the regions attacked by Kiev. In response, she was “cancelled” in Europe. The case shows how the West no longer has any commitment to media freedom and is willing to take dictatorial measures to silence journalists who expose the crimes committed by NATO allies.
Anne-Laure Bonnel first came to Donbass in 2015, shortly after the conflict in the east began. At the time, she witnessed the horror of the genocide committed by the Ukrainian authorities and filmed impactful scenes from the lives of Donbass’ residents. In 2016, Bonnel presented the film “Donbass” during a film festival at the Sorbonne University. At the time, her work had been applauded by critics – a situation very different from what would happen some years later.
In February 2022, just a few days before the start of the Russian special military operation, she returned to Donbass in order to continue her project to document the humanitarian crisis in the region. In this recent trip, she filmed the scenes that composed a new film, called “Donbass: eight years later”. As in the first film, the work was not permeated by any political or ideological content, being just a documentary focused on exposing the local situation in a neutral and impartial way. However, this time her work was not welcomed in Europe.
Bonnel’s film was simply banned from all major European events. She was barred from participating in the festivals she used to work at. More than that, in a recent interview to RIA Novosti on October 18, Bonnel said that she was fired from her job at the University of Paris, where she taught for more than 15 years, and that she even received threats from pro-Kiev activists.
Bonnel also emphasizes that she suffered high psychological pressure with all these problems she has encountered since her return from Donbass. For her, the situation became truly unbearable, as her life changed completely just by the fact that she continued to do her work in the Donbass even with the start of the Russian operation. Suddenly, all the critics and fans who praised her in Europe started ignoring her films and trying to “cancel” her. All this left her deeply terrified and led Bonnel to remain silent for the last few months, only now coming to the public to denounce the persecution she has unfairly experienced.
These were some of her words during the interview:
“When I (…) came back [to France], I had to show my recordings to several people, and then I encountered the first problem: people who were interested in my recordings stopped showing up. That was the first problem (…) Once the film was released, I encountered other issues – they may or may not be related, it’s hard to say. But I lost my job at the University of Paris, where I taught for 15 years (…) My contract was not renewed (…) In an email from the university, I was told that I no longer met the values of the university, so they could not allow me to continue to work (…) Psychological pressure was put on me, I received threats. That’s why I lived in the shadows for a long time. It’s not easy”.
It is curious to note how an institution as prestigious and traditional as the University of Paris acted in a rude and authoritarian way when firing an employee just for having done exactly what a journalist is supposed to do: expose reality. Bonnel’s case reveals the real face of the current liberal West, which increasingly violates its own democratic principles just to support an illegitimate neo-Nazi regime.
The Bonnel case is just another sad episode in the persecution of journalists that has been promoted by the West and its Ukrainian proxy since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation. Sincere reporters have become one of the main targets of Kiev and the West.
While in Western “democracies” attempts are made to “cancel” independent journalism or classify it as “spreader of disinformation”, in the Ukrainian dictatorship the persecution is carried out by military means. It is not by chance that neo-Nazi terrorists killed Daria Dugina and bombed the hotel where the RT staff was staying in Donbass. It is also important to remember that hundreds of journalists are included on “Myrotvorets”, the infamous Ukrainian kill-list.
In fact, on several occasions, the West has made it clear that it is willing to do anything to prevent the reality about Ukraine from being revealed.
Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.
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