On his first day on screens, he was able to see an interview with French politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, sovereignty, Russian and ally of Ultra Marine Le Pen in last presidential elections; Anor with American filmmaker Oliver Stone, who has shot a documentary about Vladimir Putin and nostalgic declared of General De Gaulle; And a report on Russia's successes in Syria.
RT, whose original name was Russia Today, is not an ordinary chain. Financed by Russian state and linked to Kremlin, accused of spreading propaganda to disturb elections in Western countries, among m French presidential ones of 2017, it began to issue in France on December 18 last. Since n, it is under close scrutiny by authorities. For now it is disseminated through Free platform, one of four operators in France and on Internet. No audience data available.
French President Emmanuel Macron prepares a law to increase controls against "any attempt at destabilization by television services controlled or influenced by foreign states."
Xenia Fedorova, President and information director of RT France, defends itself on grounds that it is a classic news media, inspired by Anglo-Saxon model of CNN, and "focused on stories that mainstream media [mainstream] Do not treat. " It maintains, in hope that macron precise contents of law, which can represent " principle of censorship and suppression of freedom of expression".More information
- RT, Sputnik and new Russian war
RT, which already broadcasts in English, Arabic and Spanish as well as Russian, faces requests for immediate withdrawal of authorization to broadcast in France. The essayist Galia Ackerman was one of signatories of a letter published in Le Monde which demanded that Olivier Schrameck, president of Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA), "suspend attribution of license of diffusion to Russia today in French territory". The signatories invoked " preservation of civil peace". In a telephone interview, Ackerman mentions attempts at Russian interference in election of Donald Trump in United States, referendum on EU in United Kingdom or Catalan independence process. It underlines support of Russian propaganda constellation — of which, in his opinion, RT is a link — to " fringes of society that are nationalist, separatist, eurosceptic, populist, fascist inclinations." And it requires that danger is not imminent. "All this can have a role in specific circumstances, if re is a crisis tomorrow."
In a report released a year ago, U.S. director of Intelligence's office concluded that "Russia's state propaganda machinery contributed to influence of [2016 in U.S.] campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin to send its Messages to Russian and international audiences. " "We appreciate that Moscow will apply lessons learned from this campaign ordered by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin around world, even against U.S. allies and ir electoral processes."
On 29 May, at a press conference with Putin at Versailles, Macron said: "Russia Today and Sputnik [anor Russian media active in French election campaign] have been influential bodies during this campaign which, on several occasions, have produced Counter-truths about my person and my campaign. "
Macron responded to a question from head of RT France, Fedorova. "We have never released any fake news about Emmanuel Macron, and our coverage of election was balanced," he says in his office at headquarters of chain in Boulogne-Billancourt, on outskirts of Paris. Fedorova complains that RT sees limited access to accreditations to cover president.
RT France Studios smell new. Some 80 people work in newsroom, vast majority, French. In total it has about 150 workers. The investment to put it into operation has been 20 million euros.
"In France", defends Fedorova, "we see a coverage [in media] of international events with bias of a part." An example? Syria. The fight against ISIS. Most channels said that ISIS was defeated mainly by coalition forces, and underestimated Russia's role. With regard to French domestic politics, RT France has set focus in its first weeks in episodes of police violence or trade union disputes.
"The problem with fake news is not essential, y are anecdotal. The fundamental problem is that, although this chain does not use fake news, can be just as toxic, "says in a café in Paris historian Françoise Thom, specialist in Russia and signatory of letter in Le Monde, in a café in Paris. "As St. Augustine said," It is by intention of spirit and not by truth or falsehood of things to be judged if someone lies or not. " You can tell truth with intent to deceive. "
Thom, a professor at Sorbonne, distinguishes case of RT from Prosoviet press during Cold War, like Communist daily L'Humanité. "L'Humanité announced its color. It was more frank. was clear. "
But re is some historical continuity, according to historian. "I don't think re's a plan: it's subversion logic, which is KGB. I mean, when re are opportunities, we take advantage of m, he says. "The goal is to destroy institutions of democratic countries and existing international order."
Both Thom and Ackerman, and or signatories to aforementioned letter, have been subject of disqualifications of writer and ultranationalist activist Eduard Limonov. In an article on website of RT in Russian questions its French origins and adds: "It seems that those who protect French from deleterious influence of Russia are not French but people coming from outside. Interesting, isn't it? "
The CSA-Tuca maintains under observation to RT France, obliged to sign an agreement that commits it to offer information with "honesty" and "rigor". It also has an ethical committee, although its most illustrious member, academic and eminent Russian specialist Hélène Carrère D'Encausse, abandoned it.
The new law will reinforce powers of audiovisual authority. "This will also allow, in event of acts whose nature affects outcome of scrutiny, wher in pre-electoral or electoral period, suspending or cancelling convention," said Macron in his new Year's speech to press. He didn't mention RT, but nobody escaped who he was thinking of.