An interesting glimpse into the people who make RT America happen on daily basis
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
The latest flap over forcing RT employees to register as 'foreign agents', is predictably, going to blow up in the face of the people who came up with this brilliant idea.
It gives a whole lot of people, inside and outside the US, but especially the program hosts of RT's shows, great material. They will no doubt now discuss at length what exactly the American deep state is so afraid of.
This is another own-goal from the people who brought you Russiagate, the Hillary Clinton candidacy, a 16 yr quagmire in Afghanistan, ISIS, the Iraq war, etc, etc.
A once proud nation stumbles towards its demise.
Our own correspondent in Washington, Alexander Khristenko, will talk about how things are now in the US.
In a matter of seconds, RT will broadcast one of the most popular shows, "Watching the Hawks." Its hosts discuss the acutest topics quite often from an angle which is different from the so-called mainstream American media. Because of this, people love and appreciate the RT channel.
The audience is growing every year. According to the research of the independent sociological company Ipsos, RT was in the top five most popular international news channels in America. Every week, 8 million people watch it. And this is extremely annoying for Washington politicians.
Tabetha Wallace, author and host of Watching the Hawks:
"We didn’t expect it to be so wild and hostile. We grew up in the 1990s when the idea that our countries could have a dialogue, leaving the cold war behind was passing the test. Now, we see how our country is going back to it, and it's very sad."
Tyrel Ventura, author and host of Watching the Hawks:
"The US is supposedly based on the First Amendment to the Constitution on freedom of speech, freedom of the press. And how can they say that they advocate freedom if they are trying to establish censorship or destroy the media which differs? That's completely insane!"
The Foreign Agents Registration Act - , and RT was proclaimed to be one - , requires that the television company discloses to the authorities its financial statements, staffing tables, personal data with addresses and phone numbers of employees, most of whom are Americans.
The law was passed as long ago as in 1938 to fight Nazi propaganda. For an intentional violation of its provisions, a fine of up to 10 thousand dollars or a prison term of up to 5 years is given.
Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief:
"We are law-abiding people. We aren’t going to break the law, no matter how completely wild, unjust, and wrong we see these requirements that put us in unequal competitive conditions, violate both the laws and the principles of freedom of democracy. We will be forced to do this. This is all very sad because we are fully aware that Russia will respond similarly."
The editorial staff call this measure offensive and discriminatory, because other state-funded Western TV companies don’t get any accusations from Washington, which doesn’t require the BBC America, Deutsche Welle and France 24 to recognize themselves as foreign agents.
In the Congress, RT was discussed countless times, but nobody wanted to listen to the staff.
Samir Shakhbaz, Executive Producer of the RT news program:
"No one from the staff, including management and journalists, was invited anywhere and asked questions. What are they afraid of?"
Margarita Simonyan, RT Editor-in-Chief:
"Imagine people who work and are forced to publish their data and feel like rogues in their country, feel almost like some renegades and traitors who carry out the will of a foreign agent while working in this media.
And they perfectly understand this when they take these measures. They perfectly understand that these measures are aimed at creating unbearable conditions for us that simply won’t let us work."
The US intelligence services accused RT of interfering in the election. No proof was given. But the American state media, which broadcast in Russia, openly proclaim their intervention.
Нere is a clear quotation from Radio Liberty's mission statement:
“The mission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is to promote democratic values and institutions by reporting the news in countries where the free press is banned by the government or not fully established.”
Andrei Babitsky, journalist:
"As a man who worked for Radio Liberty for many years, I know that for the BBG, this is the Board of Governors of Radio Liberty and Voice of America, and other state media means and instruments, believe there is nothing worse than losing the opportunity to be physically present in Russia. The fact that the US administration does that, knowing what the answer will be, means that it sees RT as a very serious threat, and is willing to sacrifice its own structures, jeopardizing their future functioning."
In Washington, they put pressure on social networks, and Twitter forbade the Russian TV channel to advertise itself on its platform. And when discussing the military budget, Senator McCain introduced an amendment that would allow cable networks to refuse to broadcast the Russian state video content.
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry official representative:
"If the work of Russian TV channels, Russia Today and other media, in the United States is stopped or everything is done to make it virtually impossible, the relevant articles of the Russian law on the media will be used and will be executed. In this case, we’ll act in kind, symmetrically."
Retaliatory measures are also being prepared in the State Duma. One of them is the expansion of the Law on Foreign Agents, so that, in addition to NGOs, the mass media also fall under its influence.
Vyacheslav Volodin, Russia’s State Duma Chairman:
"We accumulated a large number of claims against foreign and American media, which are currently working in Russia. These claims are related to the fact that they interfere in our internal affairs, form public opinion in their own interests and support those parties which, in their opinion, are closer to them. What is it if not interference in the sovereign affairs of the state? But we didn’t make any decisions except exhortation. Now, we have come to making such a decision."
New restrictions can also affect foreign social networks. In the sense that the mass media recognized as a foreign agent will have to place a corresponding title on their pages. The new law may be reviewed as early as next week, all factions are working on the document.
To contain the Russian threat, the Pentagon received more than $4.5 billion. Under the pretext of countering Russian aggression, Ukraine will receive military aid of $350 million.
It turns out that the congressmen consider the conflict in Donbass as a confrontation between Russia and the United States and push Kiev to solve it militarily. To oppose Russia in the information sphere, the State Department allocated $60 million. Washington appears to be ready to extrude the Russian media out of its media space at any costs.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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