Some foreign media materials about Julian Assange’s show to be broadcast by the RT (formerly Russia Today) television network, contain false claims about the network being controlled by the RIA Novosti news agency.
The source of this mistake could be an inaccurate article about RT in the English-language part of Wikipedia, which needs to be amended.
RIA Novosti 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.
RIA Novosti has asked Russian media experts to comment.
“RIA Novosti and RT are media organizations established and financed by the government. The older of the two, RIA Novosti, helped establish the younger one, RT. As I see it, there are no other institutional connections between them,” said Anna Kachkayeva, Dean of Media Communications at Moscow's Higher School of Economics, and Media Commentator at Radio Liberty.
One can say that RIA Novosti and RT “share the same roof” because they are located in the same building, she said. Actually, there are other media organizations on the premises, such as Russian Union of Journalists, and ANO Sports Broadcasting.
“But regarding everything else, such as funding, editorial policy, management and staff, they are two independent organizations whose daily operations are not interconnected in any way,” Kachkayeva said.
“Many foreign media outlets cannot tell which Russian media companies are private and which are state-controlled. Western media players do not know the scope of the state-controlled Russian media sector, or that RT and RIA Novosti are not only two different companies, but also two companies working in completely different spheres,” said Dzhemir Degtyarenko, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Russia’s Media Manager awards, Editor-in-chief, Media News magazine.
Degtyarenko believes that the confusion is even worse in the Russian regions, where media outlets have “a mixed form of ownership, with the state among their founders.”
“As a result, even Russian media players are disoriented, so we should not be too hard on their foreign colleagues for making the same mistake,” Degtyarenko said.
RIA Novosti expresses gratitude to those foreign journalists who have agreed to correct information regarding the agency’s connection to RT and is asking everyone to check their information more thoroughly, seeking out the support of experts and the original source when necessary.