AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GUARDIAN ON THE NATURE OF OPINION COLUMNS
MOSCOW, MAY 03, 2012 — RT has always been committed to giving a platform to a wide range of opinions that might be of interest to its audience, regardless of whether or not they concur with the view of the network.It is an accepted industry practice that a news outlet, be it a magazine, newspaper, TV network or website will from time to time offer a platform to opinions with which it, that is management or editors, does not agree. Such a practice implies an understanding on the part of the reader that opinions contained therein are not those of the publisher, and may be opinions to which the publisher categorically does not subscribe. This might be news to Ms. Miriam Elder, of the British daily The Guardian. Ms. Elder has recently accused RT of “defending rape” and promoting “rape apologia” in response to a hosted on RT.com but written by “NameNotFound” “a collective op-ed page run by several veteran reporters” who expressed opinions on the conviction of Ched Evans for rape in the UK. Despite the disclaimer, Ms. Elder blatantly refused to make a distinction between RT and the blogger(s) – in fact, she refers to the writer of the column specifically as the “Russia Today author”. Ms. Elder has previously attacked the opinions expressed in NameNotFound as those expressed by RT, prompting a response from the column’s writer(s) spelling out the nature of the column’s authorship and relationship with the network. It does not get any clearer than “We do not speak for RT or represent it.” So, it is very unlikely that Ms. Elder wrote her most recent article under any misconception about whose opinion she was really incensed by, yet she chose to attack RT, directly and repeatedly. Earlier this year The Guardian published a letter from Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (Mr. Peskov was responding to yet another article by Ms. Elder). The Guardian is clearly able to print the views and opinions which its editorial board does not endorse without the implication that the publication supports Kremlin’s position. It should hold RT to the same standard.