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RT (formerly Russia Today or Rossiya Segodnya (Russian: Россия Сегодня)) is a Russian state-controlled international news television network funded by the Russian government. It operates pay television and free-to-air channels directed to audiences outside of Russia, as well as providing Internet content in Russian, English, Spanish, French, German and Arabic.
RT is a brand of TV-Novosti, an autonomous non-profit organization founded by the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti in April 2005. During the economic crisis in December 2008, the Russian government, headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, included ANO “TV-Novosti” on its list of core organizations of strategic importance to Russia. RT operates as a multilingual service with channels in five languages: the original English-language channel was launched in 2005, the Arabic-language channel in 2007, Spanish in 2009, German in 2014 and French in 2017. RT America (2010–2022), RT UK (2014–2022) and other regional channels also produce local content. RT is the parent company of the Ruptly video agency, which owns the Redfish video channel and the Maffick digital media company.
RT has regularly been described as a major propaganda outlet for the Russian government and its foreign policy. Academics, fact-checkers, and news reporters (including some current and former RT reporters) have identified RT as a purveyor of disinformation] and conspiracy theories. UK media regulator Ofcom has repeatedly found RT to have breached its rules on impartiality, including multiple instances in which RT broadcast “materially misleading” content.
In 2012, RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan compared the channel to the Russian Ministry of Defence. Referring to the Russo-Georgian War, she stated that it was “waging an information war, and with the entire Western world”. In September 2017, RT America was ordered to register as a foreign agent with the United States Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
RT was banned in Ukraine in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea; Latvia and Lithuania implemented similar bans in 2020. Germany banned RT DE in February 2022. After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Poland and then the entire European Union as well as Canada announced they were formally banning RT as well, while independent service providers in over 10 countries suspended broadcasts of RT. Social media websites followed by blocking external links to RT’s website and restricting access to RT’s content. Microsoft removed RT from their app store and de-ranked their search results on Bing, while Apple removed the RT app from all countries except for Russia.
RUSSIA TODAY (English)
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