International companies such as Coca-Cola and Danone continue to place advertisements on state-controlled media in Russia and Belarus weeks after the outbreak of war. This helps finance the war propaganda of the Russian and Belarusian governments. Libereco demands that all Western companies immediately end their advertising in these media.
The Russian-Belarusian war of aggression on Ukraine has been going on for two months and countless atrocities committed by the Russian army are shocking the world. The war and war crimes are also made possible by the well-funded propaganda and anti-Ukrainian agitation in the state-controlled media of Russia and Belarus.
Without the lies and distortions spread by the Russian and Belarusian media, opposition to the war among the population and army of both countries would likely increase significantly.
Despite the targeted disinformation and war propaganda, several Western companies continue to advertise their products on Russian and Belarusian state television. Previously, more than 40 Western companies placed advertisements on Russian state television. after the outbreak of war, almost all of the well-known international corporations stopped broadcasting commercials.
Coca-Cola is the last global brand still advertising its beverages on Russian state television. Krewel Meuselbach is the last German company to continue advertising on Putin’s propaganda channels. In addition, monitoring in April revealed commercials for products from Goldman Sachs (USA), JP Morgan (USA), Servier (France), Lactalis (France), Ipsen (France), Prosus (Netherlands), Grindeks (Latvia) and Tele2 (Sweden).
Belarus plays an important role in the war
The importance of Belarus in Russia’s war against Ukraine is often underestimated. On the one hand, the country serves as a base of operations for many attacks on Ukraine; on the other hand, the constant threat of an invasion of the Belarusian army invasion in western Ukraine thins the front for Ukrainian defenders in the east of the country.
The Belarusian human rights center Viasna recently recognized several people as new political prisoners. Their offense was simply filming Russian military convoys in Belarus and posting the footage on Telegram channels. There are now well over 1100 people detained as political prisoners and hostages of the Lukashenko regime in Belarus.
Libereco monitored advertising by Western companies on Belarusian state television from July 2021 to February 2022. Following public pressure, several companies such as Henkel, Nestlé, JYSK, and Sandoz already stopped advertising on Lukashenko’s propaganda channels by the end of 2021.
Danone and Coca-Cola undermine peace efforts
In November 2021, Libereco still observed 27 Western companies with advertising placements on Belarusian state television, but this number has now dropped to only three Western companies. Danone has so far refused to stop its advertising, as has the U.S. pharmaceutical company Abbott. The pharmaceutical company Krewel-Meuselbach is the last German company that still has advertising broadcast on Belarusian television.
Lars Bünger, President of Libereco in Switzerland, demands: “All Western companies, above all Danone and Coca-Cola, must immediately stop their advertising on Russian and Belarusian propaganda channels. The advertising money of these companies co-finances the war propaganda of the state-controlled TV stations and thereby undermines the worldwide efforts to stop the war. With every additional euro of advertising money spent by Western companies, they are helping to finance Putin’s and Lukashenko’s murderous war. We demand that the EU, Switzerland and all democratic countries put all state media in Belarus and Russia on their sanctions lists, thus banning Western companies from further advertising.”