tv Focus on Europe PBS March 24, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
♪ michelle: a very warm welcome to "fokus on europe." i'm michelle henery. glad you could join us. it feels as though not a month goes by without an election taking place here in europe and each more exciting than the last, except the one in russia feels a bit different. that's because president vladimir putin is all but certain to secure another six-year term when russians go to the polls. a rally in moscow appeared to show many endorsing putin, with tens of thousands of supporters cheering him on. ♪ michelle: that was, according to official reports from the main media organizations, the very ones which critics complain are firmly under his control. but multiple reports from opposition media outlets indicated that many of the
attendees, from students to civil servants, had been strong-armed into showing up at the event. the few journalists who remain critical of putin and his government fear reprisals from the kremlin. our reporter juri rescheto spoke to two who refuse to buy into the state propaganda and are paying a heavy price for it. ♪ >> reporter pawel nikulin dared criticize the kremlin's policies in syria. now, he risks his freedom. >> i opened the door. two armed police officers and two secret service agents in civilian clothes were standing there. >> dimitri skorobutov was an editor at a state-owned tv station until his employer fired him. now, he is breaking his silence. >> everything is centrally controlled with notices and bans. state television cannot show that the state has problems.
>> the two used to belong to different political camps. now, both are in danger. in moscow, only a handful of journalists like nikulin are willing to investigate and address taboo topics human rights violations, harassment in the military, terrorism. the secret service first noticed nikulin when he interviewed a russian member of i.s. they accused him of justifying terrorism. as evidence, they took 40 copies of this magazine. but it doesn't mention syria or terrorism. apparently, their only reason was that my brochure that dealt with completely different topics had a black cover. >> skorobutov was a news editor at the state-owned broadcasting station rossiya. one day, he says, his boss was drunk and beat him up. when diitri tried to take his boss to court, he was fired. apparently, the station wanted to cover up the incident up. dimitri feels betrayed and has
started to fight back against a system he once supported. >> as an editor, i'd get these so-called stop lists of people and topics we weren't allowed to report on. for example, when people were protesting against putin, we remained silent for nearly two weeks. it was only towards the end of the second week that we were allowed to mention the protests, but we had to dismiss them as harmless child's play. we weren't even allowed to mention the name of the political opponent, navalny. and we weren't allowed to report on the demonstrations, even though they were happening in 102 cities. >> on march 18, russia is set to come to the polls. many expect the outcome to be rigged, but there will be little mention of that the statement yet, where it will be portrayed as honest and fair. opponents claim governmental
agencies suppress any criticism of the system. >> for example, roskomnadzor is a supervisory agency that makes our lives difficult. they ban critical articles, then they claim it's to protect children. >> even for younger generations, television is the most important source of information. 54% of the viewers between 18 and 24 prefer news from rossiya 1. but insiders say the russian state controls almost all broadcasting stations and uses them as an important propaganda tool and their power expands beyond mere reporting. >> at first, my lawyer didn't believe just how powerful my station was. she thought i was exaggerating. but when the court rejected our case for the fourth time, she started to realize something was very wrong. the way agencies treat us journalists, how they deny us
access to courts, arrest us at protests, search our homes, it all goes to show how little regard the state has for us. in the past years, the situation has only worsened. it's so bad that everybody who decides to take up this job can expect to be murdered one day. >> as different as nikulin's and skorobutow's experiences are, they both seem to show two sides of the same coin, the same principle, play along and keep your mouth shut or find a different job. as the saying goes in russia, either you are with us or against us. michelle: in western spain, outside of salamanca, there is a region with a picturesque landscape made up of cattle and pig pastures and a sea of ancient evergreen oak trees. but underneath the ground lies a source of conflict, one that pits neighbor against neighbor between those that view it as
hope for a prosperous future and those, like the farmer julian sanchez, who see it as destroying their heritage. >> danger lurks beneath these fields. julian sanchez and his cattle are standing on the possible site of a future uranium mine. the farmer is being expropriated. but he is unwilling to sell up. he is attached to his land here in the remote spanish countryside near salamanca. >> it affects me on a personal level because i'll lose my work. my business is small, but it is my livelihood. >> an international corporation plans to extract 8,000 tons of uranium oxide here. it's a valuable raw material for nuclear energy. the land is already being prepared for the mine. after a long tradition of farming, it will soon house the biggest uranium mine of its kind
in europe. the mayor of the municipality villavieja is against the mine. jorge rodriguez says the radioactive material will be harmful to the environment and the economy. >> this will primarily impact the farmers. their products will get a bad reputation. and the whole region will be tarnished in the same way. >> rodriguez has driven to a nearby disused uranium mine. it was closed down 18 years ago. the mine changed the landscape, and an area of several square kilometers is still restricted. rodriguez thinks the ground must be contaminated. >> i can't imagine these polluted pools of water staying
sealed permanently. water must be seeping out somewhere into the groundwater. our environment is gradually being destroyed. >> many people in the region are afraid of the new mine, but not everyone. in retortillo, some of the 200 residents are already working for the mining company. the people here don't want trouble or to explain themselves. only a few agree to give an interview. >> the mine has to open finally, so the people, the families can find work here. >> without the mine, we'd have nothing, and people would have to move away. we still have to feed our children. >> village peace is at stake. eustaquio martin experienced this in the most macabre way. he's a volunteer on the local
council and received an anonymous death threat six months ago, presumably because he works for the uranium mine. >> it's gone too far. everyone has their opinion. i respect those who are for it and those against it. but to attack me in that way, i won't tolerate it. >> the entire region of castile and leon is divided. its government is trying to dispel the fears. but they've already given permission for preliminary work to begin. the mine will create more than a thousand jobs, so some see it as an opportunity to boost the region's weak economy. >> we can't just fund rural areas and put the brakes on every economic activity purely for ideological reasons. we've already experienced this with power stations, with coal, and now with the uranium mine. but there are environmental impact assessments that evaluate all this.
>> this argument makes cattle farmers like julian sanchez angry. structures can change, but not at any cost. after all, his livestock are also part of the economy. >> i can understand people who don't have a job and see this as an opportunity. but after eight or nine years, the mine will close, and what comes then? >> another area of restricted wasteland and a blow to the region's reputation. the corporation might make a tidy profit, but not the people in rural salamanca. michelle: what would you do if you were given money every month by the government with no strings attached? would you sit around on the sofa? or would you be inspired to pursue an opportunity because
the money has freed you from constraints? in a few european countries, the idea of an unconditional basic income is gaining popularity, particularly amid warnings that automation could threaten up to a third of jobs in the next 20 years. finland is now one year into their two year basic income trial. and so far, the results have proved interesting. >> the drum still needs bit of -- needs a bit of tweaking before it's ready to be sent to the customer. juha jahrvinen knows that from experience. he makes shaman drums to order, and he's been working on this one for days. each piece is unique. >> right now, i'm trying to make as many drums as possible and earn as much money as possible. but handmade products always take longer. this isn't mass production, so
the business doesn't make that much profit. >> he now gets to keep the 700 euros he makes for each instrument. before, making extra money would reduce his unemployment allowance. juha was out of work for six years. he's one of 2000 unemployed people selected to receive 560 euros a month as part of finland's basic income trial. he now has enough time to take care of his children and his home. jarkko karhunen from oulu in northern finland also receives the basic income. he worked in i.t., but was unemployed for four years after the company shut down. he feels too old for start-ups and too rusty to apply for more senior programming jobs. now he wants to start a business, and the basic income provides the necessary safety net.
>> jobs in the i.t. industry were pretty well paid. and going self-employed is risky. but i've wanted to be my own boss for so long, and i finally have the chance to give it a go. >> and to branch out, he now sells high-end chocolate. he offers the confectionary to luxury food stores in oulu. the products are imported from other countries like germany. he set up an online shop from home, which he hopes will make his small business a success. if you just want to sit on the sofa at home, you can use the basic income to carry on being -- carry on and not even try to find a job. but for people like me who want to work, it's very motivating.
>> jarkko has given himself a year to make the business turn a profit. because even with the basic income, it's hard to make ends meet in finland. the finnish government is being cagey about the results so far. how the 2000 test subjects choose to use their basic income will only be evaluated after the end of the test phase in over a year. this model could play a big role in the future labor world. >> we can't predict how the job market will change in the future. automation might mean there isn't enough work for everyone, and then we'd need to really think about how to re-arrange our social security system. >> for aila jeskanen from tampere, the basic income means
above all security. the former hotel employee hasn't found a permanent job for a long time, despite applying for 150 in the past year. she comes to the city library several times a week to look for work online, but it is hopeless, she says. she's too old, not qualified enough. >> i probably worked less than a month last year. i did odd jobs here and there. i helped someone move house yesterday for eight hours. just these typical temporary jobs. >> aila makes doll house furniture, which she wants to sell. these little doors are in especially high demand right now. she doesn't know what she'll do when the basic income stops. >> i'm getting older. i'm nearly 56.
it really makes me worry. >> juha is making the most of it while it lasts. since he started receiving the basic income, his creativity has known no bounds. he and a few friends want to pool together to buy this empty cultural center and invite artists to move in here and work. the project's called art bnb. he desperately wants to get it going, but the group of friends doesn't have the money. still, he's optimistic. >> the world develops through innovation. there should be as much as possible. you have to have 100 crazy ideas to be left with two that work, -- work. >> juha thinks the basic income model could be one of those
innovations and adds it's a shame the experiments i set to end after a two year trial run. michelle: many jews no longer feel welcome in poland. worryingly, this is the same sentiment many had when during communism polish jews were persecuted and marginalized. exactly 50 years ago, this led to thousands emigrating. this anniversary now coincides with a controversial new holocaust law in poland. one that jewish organizations complain has caused a rise in anti-semitism. >> michael schudrich is poland's chief rabbi. born in new york, he's called warsaw home for close to three decades. he's helped to rebuild poland's jewish community following the fall of communism, especially in the capital. warsaw's synagogue was desecrated by the germans during the holocaust. during the communist era, the jewish community here kept a low profile. today, they're proud that the community's thriving again. but few will discuss this renaissance on camera for fear of an anti-semitic backlash.
>> we're in a new situation. we're hearing things we haven't heard since 1968. exactly 50 years. >> like what? >> there's no place for you in poland. i'll help you go to israel. and you've seen the caricatures. there have been some cases. nothing physical. >> 50 years ago, in 1968, thousands of jews, including many holocaust survivors, left poland as the result of an anti-zionist campaign by the communist regime. but journalist konstanty gebert stayed. he was one of the few practicing jews in communist poland. his son arrives for a visit. these two men represent two generations of jewish life in warsaw. they both accuse poland's right-wing populist government of not doing enough to combat anti-semitism. right-wing nationalist
publications claim poland is under attack by jews and print caricatures like this. >> you need to wash your hands after that. >> what is this? i mean, how can that be? why is this happening now? >> it's happening now because the entire issue of the new polish law has brought matters to a boiling point. but this is an issue that has existed throughout modern poland and which has existed even under communism and re-emerged after the fall of communism. >> poland's new holocaust law took effect this month. it's now a criminal offence to suggest poland was complicit in the extermination of jews during the nazi occupation. gebert himself wrote a column stating just that for the "daily gazeta wyborcza."
he says he could potentially be charged for this. >> i state that numerous members of the polish nation bear co-responsibility for some nazi crimes committed by the third reich. i certainly hope i will go to court. >> that could land him behind bars for three years. >> people start to fear and to be afraid. i mean, i am afraid to discuss publicly, to say in public that i am jewish, to get involved in the discussion. >> but arthur hofman sees things differently. he heads the social and cultural society of jews in poland. founded after world war ii, this group was the largest jewish institution in communist poland. at the university of warsaw, hofmann remembers the mass exodus of jews 50 years ago when anti-zionist sentiment swept poland. but his society is very
sensitive to outside criticism, especially from germany. >> they're trying to make poles responsible for the final solution to the jewish question. in a nutshell, germans did it, not the poles. the germans are guilty, not us poles. >> he shows us parts of the warsaw ghetto, where more than 400,000 jews were forced to live in appalling conditions. he says a polish priest at this catholic church was an anti-semite, yet he helped jews hide from the nazis. >> anti-semitic rhetoric in poland simply doesn't have the same consequences as it does in germany. >> chief rabbi michael schudrich is now demanding that polish politicians take a firm stand. >> no place for anti-semitism in poland. we know what it can do. we've seen it here before. but we, in 2018, whether we're from the right or the left or
the center, we will not tolerate anti-semitism. >> otherwise, the rabbi fears there could be another mass exodus of jews from poland. michelle: back in 2010, iceland was reeling from a catastrophic banking crisis and the eruption of a volcano that grounded flights across europe. thanks to a national airline with a generous stopover policy and the popularity of a certain television program filmed there, the resulting explosion in tourism saved the country's economy. but such benefits are not without their pitfalls. tourists often find themselves in trouble when exploring its dramatic landscape and have to be rescued. and that's where iceland's volunteer mountain rescue service come in. >> the landmannalaugar mountain range in southwestern iceland is covered in snow. it is a blustery minus seven
degrees celsius, and for many today, it's their first time skiing here. this group is on their way to a cabin on a high plateau. today is their first day of search and rescue training. over the next 18 months, these 24 volunteers will learn how to respond to mountain emergencies. >> the training lasts for two winters. we go out almost every weekend. it's exhausting. these young people learn a lot and become mountain rescuers. >> iceland has had volunteer rescuers since the late 1960's. at first, it was scouts who stood by in their free time. now, there are 70 teams distributed across the country. another group is scaling a range near the capital of reykjavik. an increasing number of tourists come to iceland to enjoy its breathtaking nature. many venture into areas like this alone. when the weather suddenly
changes, rescue teams are called in, and the number of calls is rising. today they're practicing abseiling. the volunteers share immense team spirit, and that's encouraging people to join. >> i'm scared. i'm afraid of heights. >> we ask if she's done this before. >> once or twice. i survived at least. >> it's not easy, but in the end, she overcomes her fear and descends off the ledge. the first team has finally reached the rescue cabin and can recover from a long day of skiing. it feels a bit like a class outing. but the strenuous tour has left its mark. of the 24 volunteers who set out this morning, five had to turn back. not everyone reached the cabin unscathed. >> it was fine until i injured my foot.
i got a blister from my shoes and couldn't go on. >> they continue their journey bright and early the next morning. the icelandic state supports the volunteers and provides their equipment. but nobody can replace the time they invest on their weekends and vacations. >> my employer is very understanding. when we have to move out, they give us time off. most employers are like that. >> saving lives is serious business, he adds. not a fun recreational activity. michelle: about every 20th icelander is a rescue volunteer. so you can hike there with peace of mind. thank you for watching. we look forward to seeing you next week. until then, goodbye. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.