State-run Russia Today (RT) has shut down its operations in America amid the war in Ukraine.
Anna Belkina, the deputy editor-in-chief for the outlet, confirmed the development.
“We are sad and disappointed that our groundbreaking channel RT America had to go off the air after more than 10 years, and that the company that supplied much of its content, T&R Productions, had to cease most of its operations, due to challenging external circumstances,” Belkina told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.
“However, we are working hard to find ways that its staff, which has for many years produced award-winning news and programming content, can remain within RT’s international family,” she added.
Misha Solodovnikov, the general manager of T&R Productions, said in a memorandum that the company was ceasing production “as a result of unforeseen business interruption events” and would be laying off most of its staff.
RT America had offices in Washington, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.
Holland Cooke, host of a show on RT, said in a blog post that the company informed staff members of the abrupt shutdown during an all-hands meeting on Thursday.
“We’ve been canceled, by cable/satellite/online distribution platforms,” he wrote, referring to the cancellation by DIRECTV and Roku in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“In line with our previous agreement with RT America, we are accelerating this year’s contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately,” DIRECTV said in a statement to news outlets.
Other platforms had been under pressure to stop carrying RT America.
The National Association of Broadcasters recently said it supported freedom of speech but that broadcasters should exercise “sound, moral judgment” and “cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents.”
Cooke said he planned to air a program that would be “a snapshot of desperate Ukraine pilgrims’ plight” while Scottie Nell Hughes, another host, said she had been advocating for peace between Russia and Ukraine and freedom of speech and press.
“It’s great to know how big of an impact we were making on the world by showing all sides of a story, no single political ideology. Their obsession to take down shows the greatness of the network in reach & their fear of people being exposed to something other than their narrative,” Hughes wrote on Twitter after DIRECTV stopped carrying RT America.
Russia Today is still operating elsewhere.
A Russian television station called TV Rain, meanwhile, was shut down by Russian authorities on Thursday, as was a radio station called Echo of Moscow.
Russian officials reportedly said the outlets were in violation of a ban on calling the conflict in Ukraine a war and the start of the war an invasion.
From The Epoch Times