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The US Government Requirement that RT-TV Register as a ‘Foreign Agent’ is a Threat to Our Press Freedom

Suddenly, I’m a ‘Russian agent’

Example: Here is a lengthy interview I did on RT International on the issue of “fake news” allegations and concerns expressed by Facebook’s head of security about calls for the company to block alleged fake news in its news feeds. I’m betting it’s not a perspective you’ve heard on your evening news, but I certainly stand by the points I’m making, and am not purveying any Russian propaganda, but let the viewer can be the judge.

What’s really going on here with this “foreign agent” registration requirement is a kind of paternalistic censorship, much like those North Korean TV sets that didn’t include settings on their channel selection dials for South Korean stations. It should concern every American who believes in the importance of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press, which after all is not just freedom for the US-based press, but also freedom of Americans’ right to read, listen to and view information from any source, and to make their own judgements about its veracity or logic. When the government, as it is doing here in making efforts to block RT from the internet and from cable and fios TV, and in requiring it to register as a foreign agent, thereby implicitly and perhaps eventually actually threatening those journalists like me who continue to contribute to or work for the Russian-funded station, it is deciding what is safe, and what is not safe for Americans to read, listen to or view. That is starting down a very dangerous slope; a slope that inevitably will lead to much broader censorship and self-censorship of media in the US.

Only a year ago, the Washington Post published a shabbily sourced and, frankly, libelous lead story based upon the “research” of a mysterious organization called PropOrNot, whose funding and personnel were left unidentified. That article claimed to have uncovered a massive Russian propaganda campaign in the US. PropOrNot, most likely a project of the Pentagon’s cyber command, claimed that some 200 online news sites in the US, including RT, but also US sites like Counterpunch, antiwar.com, Truthout, Naked Capitalism and the Black Agenda Report, are either active promoters of Russian propaganda or “useful idiots” — a term tossed around wildly during the McCarthy period to demonize people said to perhaps ignorantly back a Communist agenda of subversion.

The thing is, despite claims by rabid members of Congress and in the military industrial complex that Russia has aggressive aims of conquest in Europe, Russia isn’t even a US enemy. In reality, Russia is a major trading partner of Europe’s and is a major supplier of European natural gas. Furthermore, the US and Russia have been fighting on the same side in Syria, the Russians are the ones who fly our astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and US corporate investment in Russia, despite several years of increasing sanctions levied over the issue of a supposed but non-existent Russian invasion of Ukraine and Crimea, is enormous. In other words, from the point of view of a journalist appearing on an RT program, it is no different from appearing on a BBC or Deutsche Welle, or, for that matter, on a CCTV program produced by the Propaganda department in China.



story | by Dr. Radut