RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan on Monday ridiculed as a "phobia" suggestions by the RAND Corporation think tank that the broadcaster is part Russia's "hybrid warfare" operation against the United States.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in March, RAND published a paper titled "Understanding Russian 'Hybrid Warfare' And What Can Be Done About It," where the think tank listed so-called "information operations" as the first in a list of tools used by Russia to influence the political landscape in other countries.
RT, as well as the Sputnik news agency, were specifically mentioned in the paper, which claimed the outlets were part of a multi-channel operation to "muddy the waters" and cast doubt on "objective truths." RAND also suggested that Russian media outlets could be closed in wartime.
"RT is somewhere between Topol-M and Iskander [ballistic missiles] in the list of phobias that Western analysts suffer from. The proposal to shut us off in case of war totally made my day," Simonyan said.
In its paper, RAND also suggested that RT could be discredited as a way to curb its impact on US politics. The think tank said this was better achieved by raising awareness on misinformation in general rather than addressing every news story in particular.
Russian-based media outlets broadcasting in Europe and the United States have been facing a barrage of accusations by Western officials about allegedly spreading fake news and attempting to influence public life. In the United States, intelligence agencies have claimed Russia has used its media outlets, including RT, to swing the outcome of US November presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, but have not provided any evidence to back their claims. Russian officials, such as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, have repeatedly stated that Moscow refrains from meddling in internal affairs of foreign countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted to the US intelligence claims by noting that it had no concrete information about Russia, with media hype used as a smokescreen to divert attention from its actual contents.
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
does not correspond with the subject of the post;
promotes hatred and discrimination on racial, ethnic, sexual, religious or social basis or violates the rights of minorities;
violates the rights of minors, causing them harm in any form, including moral damage;
contains ideas of extremist nature or calls for other illegal activities;
contains insults, threats to other users, individuals or specific organizations, denigrates dignity or undermines business reputations;
contains insults or messages expressing disrespect to Sputnik;
violates privacy, distributes personal data of third parties without their consent or violates privacy of correspondence;
describes or references scenes of violence, cruelty to animals;
contains information about methods of suicide, incites to commit suicide;
pursues commercial objectives, contains improper advertising, unlawful political advertisement or links to other online resources containing such information;
promotes products or services of third parties without proper authorization;
contains offensive language or profanity and its derivatives, as well as hints of the use of lexical items falling within this definition;
contains spam, advertises spamming, mass mailing services and promotes get-rich-quick schemes;
promotes the use of narcotic / psychotropic substances, provides information on their production and use;
contains links to viruses and malicious software;
is part of an organized action involving large volumes of comments with identical or similar content ("flash mob");
“floods” the discussion thread with a large number of incoherent or irrelevant messages;
violates etiquette, exhibiting any form of aggressive, humiliating or abusive behavior ("trolling");
doesn’t follow standard rules of the English language, for example, is typed fully or mostly in capital letters or isn’t broken down into sentences.
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.