Russia Today (RT), a propaganda news channel bankrolled by Vladimir Putin, has launched a dedicated UK version. It is the first time an overseas news operator has launched a service specifically targeted at British viewers. Perhaps not surprising as the
venture looks set to cost Putin £250m a year
These are the latest salvos in a propaganda onslaught in which RT, al-Jazeera, China's state-funded CCTV and the BBC World Service and its commercially-funded sister TV channel BBC World News, are among the most prominent players.
The international version of RT is already facing six separate investigations by TV censor Ofcom, including its coverage of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Richard Sambrook, former director of global news at the BBC and director of
the Centre of Journalism at Cardiff University, said:
Editorially its line is clearly one that is being driven by the Kremlin agenda. It's a surprising move to focus resources on the UK. It's not a commercial proposition, therefore the main purpose must be to gain influence. It's about soft power for the
RT's UK channel will be made up of five hours of programmes a day broadcast from its new studios in Milbank, with the rest of the schedule filled by content from its international channel.
Not since Iraq have I seen BBC News working at propaganda strength like this. So glad I'm out of there
These are the words of the former economics editor of the BBC's Newsnight show, Paul Mason , relating to the BBC's coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. The London broadcaster's biased reporting on Scottish independence is not an isolated
incident however, as the BBC has been blatantly warping, misrepresenting and omitting pertinent facts and narratives on numerous issues, from its coverage on Israel to its distortion on Ukraine.
The broadcaster has been widely criticised by many in Scotland and around the world for their propaganda campaign in the run up to the referendum in September, leading thousands of people to take to the streets in protest over the lack of
journalistic integrity at the BBC. A major episode of this was when the BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, censored Alex Salmond's lengthy response to a question regarding the rumours that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) would move its headquarters
to London if Scotland voted for independence. Despite Salmond's comprehensive response to the question which gave the BBC seven minutes of video footage to edit for their report, Robinson decided to deceive the public and falsely claim he didn't
answer the question. This was part of a wider propaganda campaign of injecting fear and uncertainty into the idea of Scotland being an independent nation.