January 26 2022, 13:31 pm

US Government Report Reveals Russia-Backed Medias Role In Russian Disinformation Campaigns

The US Depart­ment of State has recent­ly pub­lished a report on Krem­lin-fund­ed media, iden­ti­fy­ing RT’s and Sputnik’s role in Russia’s dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da ecosys­tem. Accord­ing to the report’s exec­u­tive summary:

Jan­u­ary 2022 Russ­ian state-fund­ed and state-direct­ed media out­lets RT and Sput­nik are crit­i­cal ele­ments in Russia’s dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da ecosys­tem. In an August 2020 report, the U.S. Depart­ment of State’s Glob­al Engage­ment Cen­ter (GEC) out­lined the five pil­lars of Russia’s dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da ecosys­tem. RT and Sput­nik are key state-fund­ed and direct­ed glob­al mes­sen­gers with­in this ecosys­tem, using the guise of con­ven­tion­al inter­na­tion­al media out­lets to pro­vide dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da sup­port for the Kremlin’s for­eign pol­i­cy objec­tives. RT and Sput­nik also inter­act with oth­er pil­lars of the ecosys­tem by ampli­fy­ing con­tent from Krem­lin and Krem­lin-aligned proxy sites (some of which are con­nect­ed to Russ­ian intel­li­gence), weaponiz­ing social media, and pro­mot­ing cyber-enabled dis­in­for­ma­tion. RT and Sput­nik serve pri­mar­i­ly as con­duits for the Kremlin’s talk­ing points while equat­ing them­selves with pub­licly fund­ed, trans­par­ent and jour­nal­is­ti­cal­ly inde­pen­dent media orga­ni­za­tions such as the British Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (BBC) and Voice of Amer­i­ca (VOA). RT and Sputnik’s opaque orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­ture and lack of finan­cial trans­paren­cy obscure the true extent of the Russ­ian government’s con­trol over the out­lets’ edi­to­r­i­al process­es and staffing deci­sions. More­over, Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials and the out­lets’ lead­er­ship have open­ly dis­cussed RT and Sputnik’s role as tools of state pro­pa­gan­da. RT and Sputnik’s role as dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da out­lets is most obvi­ous when they report on issues of polit­i­cal impor­tance to the Krem­lin. ship posi­tion, even when the con­sumers are aware that RT is fund­ed by the Russ­ian government.

Read the full report here.

In April, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report report­ed that the US des­ig­nat­ed sev­er­al Rus­sia-linked media out­lets over dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts and inter­fer­ence in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. How­ev­er, Russia’s main Eng­lish-lan­guage media out­lets, RT and Sput­nik, were not includ­ed. In June, we report­ed about a RAND study that iden­ti­fied the fol­low­ing out­lets as part of the Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion ecosystem:

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly cov­ered RT and Sputnik’s role in glob­al dis­in­for­ma­tion campaigns.


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