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RussiaJuly 18 2022, 15:17 pm

Russian State Channel RT Opens Office in Serbia

Euro­pean media is report­ing that Russ­ian state-owned TV and radio broad­cast­er Rus­sia Today (RT) plans to open offices in Ser­bia. Accord­ing to a report by Euractiv:

July 15, 2022 Russ­ian state-owned TV and radio broad­cast­er Rus­sia Today (RT) is set to open offices in Ser­bia, Sput­nik Serbia’s Edi­tor-in-Chief Lju­bin­ka Mil­inčić con­firmed to inde­pen­dent news por­tal Nova.rs.  RT was banned from broad­cast­ing in the EU in March because it “incit­ed and sup­port­ed Russia’s aggres­sion” against Ukraine. The EU also accused  RT of being Kremlin’s tools for dis­in­for­ma­tion and manip­u­la­tion of infor­ma­tion.  On RT set­ting up offices in Ser­bia,  Mil­inčić said: “Yes, it is true. They will not start work in Ser­bia now, but prepa­ra­tions are under­way.” When asked if her daugh­ter would be tak­ing the lead­er­ship role in RT Ser­bia, she did not comment.

Read the rest here.

The report notes that while Ser­bia is not an EU mem­ber, it is a can­di­date coun­try and is expect­ed to align itself with Russ­ian sanc­tions but that it has so far failed to do so.  In late May, it was wide­ly report­ed that Ser­bia had agreed to a new three-year gas sup­ply deal with Rus­si­a’s state ener­gy provider, Gazprom. Last Decem­ber, we report­ed on a study that found that Ser­bia is by far the East­ern Euro­pean coun­try “most vul­ner­a­ble to Russ­ian and Chi­nese influ­ence” and that “Ser­bian soci­ety is par­tic­u­lar­ly sym­pa­thet­ic towards Rus­sia and Chi­na, antag­o­nis­tic to  NATO, and ambiva­lent about the  EU.” We have also report­ed on a study that found Moscow is “keen to ensure Bel­grade retains close links to the Krem­lin and remains a com­fort­able buffer against NATO expan­sion in Europe.”

In 2017, the NYT char­ac­ter­ized RT (for­mer­ly Rus­sia Today) as follows:

Ana­lysts are sharply divid­ed about the influ­ence of RT. Point­ing to its minus­cule rat­ings num­bers, many cau­tion against over­stat­ing its impact. Yet focus­ing on rat­ings may miss the point, says Peter Pomer­ant­sev, who wrote a book three years ago that described Russia’s use of tele­vi­sion for pro­pa­gan­da. “Rat­ings aren’t the main thing for them,” he said. “These are cam­paigns for finan­cial, polit­i­cal and media influ­ence.” RT and Sput­nik pro­pel those cam­paigns by help­ing cre­ate the fod­der for thou­sands of fake news prop­a­ga­tors and pro­vid­ing anoth­er out­let for hacked mate­r­i­al that can serve Russ­ian inter­ests, said Ben Nim­mo, who stud­ies RT for the Atlantic Coun­cil. What­ev­er its impact, RT is unques­tion­ably a case study in the com­plex­i­ty of mod­ern pro­pa­gan­da. It is both a slick mod­ern tele­vi­sion net­work, dressed up with great visu­als and styl­ish pre­sen­ters, and a con­tent farm that helps feed the Euro­pean far right. View­ers find it dif­fi­cult to dis­cern exact­ly what is jour­nal­ism and what is pro­pa­gan­da, what may be “fake news” and what is real but pre­sent­ed with a strong slant.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly cov­ered the activ­i­ties of Russ­ian broad­cast­er RT as a tool of Russ­ian disinformation.

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