Report: RT America Is Pulling Plug
Follows DirecTV distribution hit for Russian State-backed channel
RT America, which has been putting a pro-Russian spin on the news of the day, including the country's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, is shuttering its operations and is laying off most of its staff, according to a memo obtained by CNN.
The memo cited "unforeseen business interruption events" and signaled the shuttering and layoffs would be permanent.
DirecTV had earlier signaled it was dropping the channel, a big distribution hit, over what was widely seen as a propaganda arm of the Russian government--the U.S. government for several years has required it to register as a foreign agent.
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are all blocking the Web version of RT, though the channel tweeted defiantly earlier this week that it was still "alive and kicking" before T&R Productions, which produces the channel, signaled to staffers in the memo that neither was actually going to be the case.
The European Union this extended its sanctions on Russia to RT Russia and Sputnik.
Also: NAB Urges Broadcasters to Drop Russian State-Sponsored Content
The European council said Wednesday that given Russia's "unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine," RT broadcasts were suspended in the EU ((RT English, RT UK, RT Germany, RT France, and RT Spanish).
The EU said the suspension lasts "until the Russian Federation and its associated outlets cease to conduct disinformation and information manipulation actions against the EU and its member states," which it calls an operational tool in Russia's attack and a "direct threat to the Union's public order and security." The EU said both outlets are under either direct of indirect control of the Russian Federation. ■
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.