Re: Check has written that lies and half-truths are also contained in the statements of the portal’s creator Jānis Pļaviņš on the social media “Facebook”. The way he earns money is also linked to pseudoscience and misleading consumers. Namely, Pļaviņš sells expensive water, to which he has attributed magical properties – the water is structured and charged with positive frequencies. Researchers emphasize that nothing like this is possible.
Valtervitenheims Re: Check explained that he did not intend to promote the portal or support the views expressed in it about the artificial origin of Covid-19 or, for example, the desire of billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates to destroy the world. He said he was attracted to “not so much the information they give, but the saying that we are changing the world for the better is the core.”
However, his own Facebook account suggests otherwise. In it, Valtervitenheim regularly conveys the messages of Pļaviņš and his portal. One of the latest records shared by Valtervitenheim says the virus is an affair, but the World Health Organization is a “rotten corrupt institution” with the aim of “exposing and reducing the number of people, not helping us.”
Valtervitenheim was free to broadcast not only the disinformation portal but also the dissemination of questionable information himself.
He said, for example, “All believers want to raise their children properly, not to be like in European schools or kindergartens – they undress an adult man, a woman and say in kindergarten, ‘You can choose when you grow up, who you want to be.’
When asked by Re: Check exactly where it happens at school or kindergarten, Valtervitenheim said that he had heard it from a member of the German Bundestag, but had not checked it himself.
Re: Check asked Elkin why the program called Valtervitenheim for misinformation recognition and why he, as the host of the show, did not object to the guest when he spoke questionable things.
Elkins explained that several media experts had previously participated in the show and talked in detail about the recognition of misinformation, but it is not possible to “get along with only five, seven, ten experts” during several months of the project.
“I agree that maybe not every show is so outstanding, exhaustive and so on, but there are all sorts of experts,” Elkins said. He also pointed out that this is a live broadcast and that it is not possible to prepare for each respondent’s response in this format.
Agnese Dāvidsone, an associate professor at Vidzeme University College and the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, after listening to the interview, admits that the content of media literacy issues is affected to a very small extent and no specific examples have been analyzed from its point of view. In addition, the guest is not only given the opportunity to express himself as he wishes, but also the host himself has made “strong statements” on socially sensitive issues, such as social inequality, migration and demography, without justification.
Dāvidsone also concludes that what the guest of the program said that he has started using one portal and is therefore less interested in others, in fact contradicts media literacy, because a person “stops using various sources of information, and there are also risks of one-sided views”.
The program has previously genuinely interviewed several representatives of the media industry, including university lecturers and the head of the Baltic Media Center of Excellence. Representatives of other fields, such as former Chief of the State Police Ints Ķuzis, political scientists Kārlis Daukšts and Veiko Spolītis, lawyer Aleksejs Dimitrovs.
One of the guests was a retired officer of the Latvian Army Raimonds Rublovskis, who was nominated as a representative of the recently founded Society for the Defense of Democracy. Rublovskis spent a large part of the show talking about the reasons for the establishment of the association, for example, that Latvian portals contain uniform or “bad or no” information about China, Brazil, as well as the presidents of Russia, Belarus and the United States.
SIA “RNR LTD”, Mix Fm and Mixnews.lv radio program 45.7 thousand euros are intended for the creation of socially significant content from the state budget (Re: Baltica project Re: Check also receives funds in this program).
The Society Integration Fund, which is responsible for the distribution of public funding in the tender, did not answer Re: Check’s questions on content evaluation within the promised time.