SECRETARY KERRY ASKS FOR INCREASED FUNDING OF US FOREIGN BROADCASTING TO COUNTER RT
“Russia Today can be heard in English, do we have an equivalent that can be heard in Russian? It’s a pretty expensive proposition. They are spending huge amounts of money. Speaking languages that other people understand and putting out information that other people understand, in other countries – around them. We are not.” — Kerry stated, while addressing the Appropriations Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 25th. “We are beginning now to do this, with respect to ISIL,” he added.
Commenting on the financing of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and its new chief, Andrew Lack, Kerry said that “This is a big enterprise, folks, I’m all for it, President is all for it, but it takes money. And we’ve got to be prepared to invest in that kind of marketing, if you will, and the penetration. What we have allocated now under BBG goes to Radio Free Asia, […] it goes to all these various agencies – it’s split up; […] We’ve got to sit down and rethink it, recommit, figure out how we’re going to do this most effectively. We haven’t cornered the market on the wisdom of that. But [...] Andy Lack is a very capable guy. We’re hopeful that we’re going to have a rejuvenation of that effort.”
In January of this year Andrew Lack placed RT alongside terrorist groups Islamic State and Boko Haram on the list of “challenges” faced by the United States.
“Unfortunately Mr. Kerry is ill-informed. RT’s budget of $225 million covers broadcasting across five international TV channels. At $721 million, BBG’s annual financing is more than three times larger for the much cheaper radio and online services. Clearly this isn’t a question of money,” commented RT’s editor in chief Margarita Simonyan. “Government of the United States treats RT as a threat because millions of people have grown tired of the same one-sided portrayals of the world. RT delivers exactly what they can’t get from the mainstream media – a fresh, alternative look at current events.”