News

New Global TV Venture to Promote Russia

Multimedia

Audio

Russia's state-owned news agency, RIA-NOVOSTI, has surprised media watchers by announcing plans to launch a new, 24-hour global television news channel to improve Russia's image abroad. Russia Today is to hit the airwaves late this year and is being hailed by organizers as a new Russian CNN. But several analysts say the venture will amount to nothing more than Kremlin propaganda.

Russia's domestic television media, which consists of only two government-sponsored tv channels, already suffers from a credibility problem. Enter plans for Russia Today, whose organizers say it will cover international news with a, "Russian outlook" and the issue takes on a whole new dimension.

With initial funding amounting to $30 million, the station hopes to employ 500 people to prepare broadcasts for view in the United States, Europe, several Asian countries, and many of the former Soviet Republics.

Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of Russia Today TV, a 24-hour, English-language satellite news channel funded by Russian state
The newly-named Director General of Russia Today, 25-year-old Margarita Simonyan, hails from the Kremlin press corps. She says the station aims to counter, what she calls, the Anglo-Saxon domination of global television news.

Ms. Simonyan says organizers also hope it will change the negative view many foreigners have of Russia as a nation lacking law and order. But her more immediate job has been to try to deflect the negative coverage generated inside Russia, following recent word of the channel's launch.

Ms. Simonyan tells VOA that it is difficult to answer critics who, she says, have already made up their minds that Russia Today will not be editorially independent of its Kremlin sponsors.

Wait and see, was all she said.

She also said a public council to oversee editorial independence was in the works. But she offered no other concrete details on real or suggested safeguards to ensure the station's editorial integrity.

Chief Editor Anton Nosik, of a major English-language computer internet site in Russia (Mos-News.com), is one critic of the channel who is skeptical. Mr. Nosik says the idea smacks of Soviet-style propaganda campaigns, dating as far back as Joseph Stalin.

"This channel is not created as a response to any existing demand," he said. "Nobody has ever measured existing demand for such sort of coverage in the world. And same as 70 years ago, the demand simply is not there."

Mr. Nosik holds out little hope the channel will broadcast anything other than what the Kremlin wants to see which, in his view, is a Russian success story.

"We expect to see that life in Russia [is] improved, that [the] Russian government is doing all in its power, that [the] Russian economy is healthy and sound, that Russia is a good place for investment, and that Russia is the most progressive country in the world and that Russia is the hope of all progressive mankind," he added. "That is the ancient Soviet propaganda picture that has been recreated by the current authorities because they sincerely believe in it and want the rest of the world to believe in it as well."

But the question on the minds of many analysts in Russia is, will the public buy it? Masha Lipman of Moscow's Carnegie Center, thinks not.

"There is a general sense in the world, among those who are interested in Russia - media, analysts, students of Russia - that in Russia, the state once again is heavily centralized and all decision-taking is concentrated in the Kremlin and the Kremlin uses all the remaining institutions to further its own purposes," said Ms. Lipman. "And so it will be assumed that this channel too, of course, is only launched to further Kremlin goals. So, I think whoever is watching it for analytical purposes, will watch it with suspicion, trying to see signs of the Kremlin's influence, or censorship, or the Kremlin's interest behind it."

Analyst Lipman says she believes Russia's global reputation is determined to a great extent by Russia's political performance, as well as by its political failures. Among the latter, she cites the recent corruption trial and subsequent sentencing of former Yukos Chief Executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky as perhaps the most damaging for Russia's image abroad.

Ms. Lipman also questions why Russian officials do not consider attacking the source of the image problem, the problems themselves, rather than trying to re-make Russia's image.

But Ivan Zasoursky, a professor of Journalism at Moscow State University, says Russia-Today could be beneficial in a most unforeseen way.

Mr. Zasoursky says Russians have a long tradition of airing problems in public. And in this sense, he says if the station seeks to address issues like the dismantling of any viable political opposition in the country, or growing domestic capital flight, then, Russia Today could be a viable media outlet. But like the other analysts, he is waiting to see what, in fact, Russia Today delivers when it begins broadcasting this September.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs