Thomas Kent: don’t create a crisis around Radio Liberty

Meat Crisis In Armenia (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)

Thomas Kent: don't create a crisis around Radio Liberty

Former Director of RFE / RL – on new measures of the Russian authorities against Radio; Svoboda

According to Russian media, the Magistrate’s Court in Moscow fined Radio Liberty and its CEO 1.1 million rubles for violating the labeling rules for media outlets recognized as “foreign agents.”.

The reports on administrative offenses were drawn up by Roskomnadzor (RKN) in relation to the media recognized by foreign agents. The ministry said in a statement that for the lack of labeling of information disseminated on the Crimea.Realii and Faktograf websites, their owner, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty LLC, was fined (two protocols of 500 thousand rubles each), as well as the general director of the organization (two minutes of 50 thousand rubles ), which, according to SPARK-Interfax, is the head of the Russian service of Radio Liberty, Andrei Shary.

The violation reports were drawn up by Roskomnadzor on January 12. In total, eight protocols were written for four sites. In total, RKN announced its intention to draw up 18 protocols in January – 9 each for the media and for the Director General of Radio Liberty.

Now the Russian register of media-“foreign agents”, in addition to the corporation “Radio Liberty / Free Europe” and a number of its subsidiaries, includes “Voice of America”, the Czech news agency Medium-Orient, as well as five individuals.

Radio Liberty and Voice of America are funded in part or in whole by the US government. The Moscow bureau of Radio Liberty employs about 50 people, most of them citizens of the Russian Federation. About 250 freelance RS correspondents also work in Russian regions..

Recent measures against foreign-funded media come as no surprise to former RFE / RL leader Thomas Kent (Thomas Kent), now a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington. In an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America, he drew attention to the fact that these measures are taking place against the background of demonstrations in support of Alexei Navalny, which RS actively covers.

“The Russian government over the past two decades has been trying to obstruct the work of Radio Liberty, one of Russia’s largest media outlets outside the Kremlin’s control,” Kent said. – I think that the Russians will learn about the demonstrations that have swept across the country even without Radio Liberty. Even if the authorities close the RS, it will not solve their problems “.

“It’s about trying to control what people think and what information they receive,” Kent continued. “But nowadays the information space is very porous, and Radio Liberty is not the only source of information.”.

Thomas Kent noted that the Russian television RT, broadcasting on various cable networks, and radio Sputnik, broadcasting on two frequencies in Washington, operate in the United States. “At the same time, Svoboda is banned from broadcasting on radio or television in Russia,” added the former RFE / RL director. – This is a completely non-symmetrical situation, in which the Russian government has added a whole series of laws on “foreign agents”. All this boils down to the fact that the Russian authorities consider themselves to have the right to determine what information Russians can receive, because the authorities think that their people are not in a position to assess information from different sources themselves. But I do not think that further actions against RFE / RL can significantly change the situation in Russia. Russians are not subject to any kind of manipulation; they have their own will “.

Thomas Kent, in his recent article on the Foundation’s website, expressed concern about the possibility of the authorities closing the Moscow bureau of Radio Liberty. In an interview with the Voice of America, he noted that recently in Russia, restrictions have been introduced on the work of RFE / RL in the non-stop mode. “They can do whatever they want, including shutting down the Moscow bureau,” he said. “But I don’t think it would be in their best interest, or that it would solve their problems.”.

Thomas Kent: don't create a crisis around Radio Liberty
Thomas Kent: don't create a crisis around Radio Liberty

“I also think that if the Russians want to make progress (in relations with the Biden administration – ed.) In areas of interest to them, they should not create a crisis around Radio Liberty,” added Kent.

The Biden administration, which replaced the leadership of the US Agency for Global Media and the media under its control, appointed by Donald Trump, has not yet commented on the situation..

  • Mikhail Gutkin

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Thomas Kent: don't create a crisis around Radio Liberty
Thomas Kent: don't create a crisis around Radio Liberty

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