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UK Sanctions Irish Journalist Working for Russian Propaganda Outlet RT

May 30th, 2022 15:53

Irish media report­ed ear­li­er this month that an Irish jour­nal­ist was includ­ed in a new pack­age of UK sanc­tions in con­nec­tion with his role at the Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da out­let  RT (for­mer­ly. Rus­sia Today). Accord­ing to a report by The Independent:

May 04 2022 Irish jour­nal­ist Bryan Mac­Don­ald has been named in a new pack­age of UK sanc­tions over his role with Russ­ian media. As Head of the Russ­ian and For­mer Sovi­et Union Desk for Rus­sia Today (RT), he is accused of being “a mem­ber of, or asso­ci­at­ed with, a per­son involved in desta­bil­is­ing Ukraine or obtain­ing a ben­e­fit from or sup­port­ing the Gov­ern­ment of Rus­sia” by the UK Office of Finan­cial Sanc­tions Imple­men­ta­tion Mr Mac­Don­ald has been made a des­ig­nat­ed per­son by the UK gov­ern­ment. ‘The war on Ukraine is a wake-up call to us that enough is enough’ – Taoiseach Micheál Mar­tin Oth­ers on that list include Her­man Gref, the chief exec­u­tive of Russia’s largest lender Sber­bank and for­mer Econ­o­my Min­is­ter, bil­lion­aire oil tycoon Eugene Shvi­dler and Poli­na Koval­e­va, For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov’s socialite step-daugh­ter. UK cit­i­zens must now freeze any accounts, funds, or oth­er eco­nom­ic resources, and refrain from deal­ing with Mr Mac­Don­ald. Fail­ure to com­ply or attempt­ing to cir­cum­vent the sanc­tions is deemed a crim­i­nal offence. Mr Mac­Don­ald said in a state­ment to the Irish Inde­pen­dent last night: “I just think it’s real­ly sad. And it reflects bad­ly on the British gov­ern­ment, which claims to have respect for press free­dom.” He added: “What makes this rul­ing even more ridicu­lous is that I ran the (online) desk to the high­est pro­fes­sion­al stan­dards. We did not engage in any dis­in­for­ma­tion. “Our out­put was bal­anced and rig­or­ous­ly fact checked. Under no met­ric could it have been con­sid­ered ‘pro­pa­gan­da’. In fact, this seemed to upset some peo­ple as they want­ed RT to fit a par­tic­u­lar narrative.

Read the rest here.

In 2017, the NYT char­ac­ter­ized RT 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 (GIOR) has report­ed exten­sive­ly on RT and its operations.