Russia Today or also known as RT is a 24/7 English-language Television news channel. We are set to show you how any story can be another story altogether. Broadcasting over six continents and 100 countries, our coverage focuses on international headlines like Occupy Wall Street – Critics on Western Media giving an innovative angle set to challenge viewers worldwide.
There are 6 main informational Television-channels in Russia, plus 1 which broadcasts in English-Language to the west (Russia Today). Two of these channels are owned by government (Rossia 1, Rossia 24), and RT TV is a budget subsidised. RT TV started broadcasting in 2005 as a first Russian Television-channel broadcasting 24/7 on English with a purpose of “reflecting the Russian position on the main international issues” and “informing the audience about events and occurrences of the Russian life style”.
The TV channel is government-funded but shapes its editorial policy free from political and commercial influence. Our dedicated team of news professionals unites young talent and household names in the world of english broadcast journalism.
Russia Today (Wiki):
RT TV or also known as Russia Today Television, is an international multilingual Russian-based television network. It is registered as an Autonomous Non-profit Organization funded by the Federal budget of Russia through the Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation.
RT TV presents round-the-clock news bulletins, documentaries, talk shows, and debates, as well as sports news and cultural programs on Russia aimed at the overseas news market. RT has had some notable guests including heads of state Vladimir Putin, Nouri Al-Maliki, Rafael Correa and Bashar Assad.
Russia Today TV broadcast through 30 satellite and 500 cable operators to 550 million people in over 100 countries. RT has over 2 million viewers in the United Kingdom and has rivaled Al Jazeera as the most popular English-speaking foreign channel in Britain. RT America states it is available to 85 million people in the United States. It is the second most-watched foreign news channel in the U.S. after BBC News. It is the number one foreign station in five U.S. urban areas. According to Pew Research,
is the number one source for the most popular news videos on YouTube.
Foundation of RT Television
Creation of Russia Today Television was a part of larger effort by the Kremlin intended to improve the image of Russia abroad via English Broadcasting Television(western nations). RT was conceived by former Russian media minister Mikhail Lesin, and Vladimir Putin’s press spokesperson Aleksei Gromov At the time of RT’s founding RIA Novosti director Svetlana Mironyuk stated: “Unfortunately, at the level of mass consciousness in the West, Russia is associated with three words: communism, snow and poverty,” and added “We would like to present a more complete picture of life in our country.”
In 2005 RIA Novosti helped establish “ANO TV-Novosti”, (Autonomous Non-profit Organization TV-News) – The parent organization of RT TV. ANO TV-Novosti General director (CEO) position was filled by Mr. Sergey Frolov Frolov described: “A main problem in the beginning was that in our country we’ve never broadcasted English-language television. When it began Russia Today had a certain lack of personnel: it seems hard to find qualified journalists, political scientists, economists, analysts, with good English skills in Moscow.”
RT started broadcasting as “Russia Today” on 10 December 2005, initially with 300 journalists, including approximately 70 from outside Russia. Russia Today’s editor-in-chief position was filled by Margarita Simonyan who recruited foreign journalists as presenters and consultants. She said the channel’s intent was to have a “professional format” like the BBC, CNN and Euronews that would “reflect Russia’s opinion of the world” and present a “more balanced picture” of Russia.
Simonyan was a reportedly well-connected former Kremlin pool reporter, only 25 years old, who had been working in journalism since she was 18. She told the New York Times that after the fall of the Soviet Union many new young journalists were hired, thus the youth of most of the staffers. Journalist Danny Schechter, who has been a guest on RT, has stated that having been part of the start-up team for CNN, he saw RT as another “channel of young people who are inexperienced, but very enthusiastic about what they are doing.” Shortly after the channel was launched, James Painter wrote that Russia Today and similar stations like France 24 and TeleSUR saw themselves as “counter-hegemonic”, offering a differing vision and news content from that of Western media like CNN and the BBC.
Growth of Russia Today English Television Broadcasting
RT TV launched several new channels in ensuing years: the Arabic language channel Rusiya Al-Yaum in 2007, the Spanish language channel RT Actualidad in 2009, RT America which focuses on the United States in 2010, and the RT Documentary channel in 2011.
In August 2007, RT had television’s first ever live report from the North Pole, which lasted 5 minutes, 41 seconds. An RT TV crew participated in the Arktika 2007 Russian polar expedition, led by Artur Chilingarov on the Akademik Fyodorov icebreaker. In December 2007 the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration broadcast RT’s televised Moscow and Saint Petersburg celebrations.
RT TV drew particular world attention for its coverage of the 2008 South Ossetia war. RT portrayed the small country of Georgia as the aggressor against the separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia which were protected by Russian troops. Russia Today was the only source of information in the West about the Russian position. RT saw this as the incident which showcased its news abilities to the world. Margarita Simonyan stated “we were the only ones among the English-language television media who were giving the other side of the story – the South Ossetian side of the story.”
In 2009 Russia Today rebranded itself to the more neutral “RT.” Margarita Simonyan denied it was an attempt to hide its Russian origins, saying the corporate logo was changed to attract more viewers and commenting “Who is interested in watching news from Russia all day long?”
The early 2010 “Question More” advertising campaign created for RT in Britain by McCann Erickson was highly controversial. One advertisement showed American President Barack Obama “morphing” into Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and asked: “Who poses the greatest nuclear threat?” The ad was banned in American airports. Another shows a Western soldier “merging” into a Taliban fighter and asks: “Is terror only inflicted by terrorists?” One of RT’s 2010 billboard advertisements won the British Awards for National Newspaper Advertising “Ad of the Month.”
Russia Today is one of several international channels which have challenged the United States media which previously dominated global news coverage. In 2010 Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the U.S. Government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors (which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Free Asia), called for more money for the programs because “We can’t allow ourselves to be out-communicated by our enemies,” mentioning specifically Russia Today, Iran’s Press TV and China’s China Central Television (“CCTV”) in the next sentence. He later explained he actually was referring to “enemies” in Afghanistan, not the nations he mentioned. In 2011 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the United States was “losing the information war” abroad to foreign channels like Russia Today, Al Jazeera, and China Central Television and that they are supplanting the Voice of America.
RT in 2012
In early 2012 Shortly after his appointment as the United States Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul challenged Margarita Simonyan over Twitter in regards to allegations from Russia Today that he sent Alexei Navalny to study at Yale. Russia Today discovered McFaul was referring to a comment in an article by political scientist Igor Panarin which RT had specified were the views of the author. Ambassador McFaul then accepted an interview by Sophie Shevardnadze on RT on this and other issues and reasserted that the Obama administration wanted a “reset” in relations with Russia.
In 2012 Pew Research found Russia Today to be the most popular news channel on YouTube, with Fox News coming in second.
“World Tomorrow” title card
On April 17, 2012 RT TV began to broadcast the World Tomorrow, a news interview program hosted by Julian Assange. The first guest was Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The interview made global headlines because Nasrallah rarely gives interviews to western media. Commentators described this as a “coup” or a “scoop”. WikiLeaks described the show as “a series of in-depth conversations with key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world.” It says that the show is “independently produced and Assange has control”; WikiLeaks offers a “Broadcasters license, only”. Anticipating criticism such as “There’s Julian Assange, enemy combatant, traitor, getting into bed with the Kremlin and interviewing terrible radicals from around the world,” Assange said that RT would allow his guests to say things they “could not say on a mainstream TV network.” Assange admitted that if Wikileaks had published Russian data, his relationship with RT might not have been so comfortable.
In August 2012 RT suffered a denial of service attack for several days by a group calling itself “Antileaks.” It was speculated that the group was protesting Julian Assange and/or Russia’s jailing of members of the Pussy Riot group.
On October 23, 2012 RT, along with Al-Jazeera and C-SPAN, broadcast the Free and Equal Elections Foundation third party debate among four third party candidates for the United States President. On November 5, RT broadcast the two candidates voted winners of that debate, Libertarian Party candidate Governor Gary Johnson and the Green Party of the United States candidate Jill Stein from RT’s TV Washington, DC studio.
In November 2012 the Israeli Defense Force bombs severely damaged the Russia Today Television office in Gaza City, wounding four journalists, during Operation Pillar of Defense. The office was right next to that of the Israeli target, Al-Aqsa TV, a Hamas-affiliated television station.
Organization of RT – Television Network
Former President of Russia – Dmitry Medvedev visits RT Television offices with Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.
State-owned Ria Novosti Russian news agency, which founded RT in 2005, is one of the largest in the country Russia. Its Chair is Svetlana Mironyuk who has modernized the agency since her appointment in 2003. RIA Novosti has stated it helped establish RT but is “neither a sponsor nor a backer of Russia Today.” Mikhail Seslavinsky, in charge of the Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation asserted in 2005 that “Russia Today will come as an independent company”.
In 2007 RT offices were established in the same building as RIA-Novosti after the Russian Union of Journalists was forced to vacate them. In 2012 Anna Kachkayeva, Dean of Media Communications at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, stated that they “share the same roof” because they are located in the same building, but regarding “funding, editorial policy, management and staff, they are two independent organizations whose daily operations are not interconnected in any way.”
In 2008 Simonyan noted that more than 50 young RT TV journalists had gone on to take positions in large Western media outlets. By 2010 Russia Today had grown to a staff of 2000.
In June 2011 RT responded to the criticisms it is “state-run” by noting the official mission statements and funding of other well-known “state-run” television networks like the British Broadcasting Corporation (“BBC”), France 24, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and the United States’s Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Margarita Simonyan told a reporter that the Kremlin would not dictate content and “Censorship by government in this country is prohibited by the constitution.” She explained her job was “to bring the western image of Russia closer to what Russia really is.”
In 2012 when foreign media were commenting on RT sponsoring the Julian Assange program, RIA Novosti asserted that “It is the co-founder of the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization (ANO) TV Novosti, launched in December 2005 as Russia Today (RT). Under Russian law, as an autonomous non-profit organization, RT is fully independent of its founders. Its top management body is the Supervisory Council (Board of Directors). RIA Novosti does not have any representatives on the RT Supervisory Council or any other RT management bodies, and hence does not influence the network’s editorial policy, or its financial and economic operation, directly or indirectly”.
RT cooperates with a number of media sources in Russia and abroad, including private media like Izvestia, Kommersant, Trud, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Vedomosti, Argumenty i Fakty and the non-Russian Association for International Broadcasting, Huffington Post, News.com.au and WhatReallyHappened.com.
Budget of RT TV
Russia Today cost $30 million to establish in 2005 and $30 million for its first year of operation. About half of the network’s budget came from the state and the other half from banks and companies friendly to the government. Its budget in dollars was approximately $80 million in 2007, $120 million in 2008, $380 million in 2011 and $300 million in 2012. Putin has prohibited funding for Russia Today from being reduced as of October 30, 2012.
Network of Russia Today Television
RT English TV broadcast through 30 satellite and 500 cable operators to 550 million people in over 100 countries, 25 percent of all cable subscribers worldwide. In addition to its English-language broadcast, RT also runs Rusiya Al-Yaum, an Arabic language channel, and Actualidad RT, a Spanish-language channel, as well as a documentary channel, RTDoc. RT has 21 bureaus in 16 countries, including Washington, D.C., New York, London, Paris, Delhi, Cairo, Baghdad, Kiev. It employs over 2,000 media professionals worldwide.
RT TV consists of its main Russia Today International English-language Television channel, Russia Today TV America, Russia Today Arabic, Actualidad Russia Today in Spanish and Russia Today Documentary.
The RT website offers a live stream available online to computer or mobile devices. It provides many of its news casts and featured shows via YouTube. RT is transmitted on 22 satellites, covering much of Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australia on a variety of carriers listed at its website. In September 2012 RT signed a contract with the Israeli company RRSat to distribute high definition channels to the United States, Latin America and Asia.
RT cooperates with a number of media sources in Russia and abroad, including private media like Izvestia, Kommersant, Trud, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Vedomosti, Argumenty i Fakty and the non-Russian Association for International Broadcasting, Huffington Post, News.com.au and WhatReallyHappened.com. In October 2012 RT’s Rusiya Al-Yaum and Russia Today joined the High Definition network Al Yah Satellite Communications (“YahLive’).