Saluting RT's contribution to a world of more diversified news and opinion

Russia Today newsroom during a live program in English. © 
Evgeny Biyatov
On the 10th anniversary of RT's founding, our regular Op-Edge contributors forwarded their opinions as to how RT has transformed the field of journalism, creating new avenues of thought and deliberation where before there was just one.

Pepe Escobar

RT smashed the monopoly of Western corporate media in presenting international relations; an approach that essentially mixes arrogance and ignorance. No wonder Exceptionalists of all strands hate RT with a vengeance. In the wilderness of mirrors of an implacable, global information war, one badly needs a GPS. And the GPS is RT.

Sam Gerrans

In just ten years, Russia Today has become an important news outlet worldwide. It always contributes to – and at times defines – the narrative, both in terms of breaking news and longer-term perspectives.

Russia Today provides a worthy counterpoint to dominant, corporate news outlets – primarily those based in the U.S. – and provide access to opinions which extend beyond the remit, interests and allegiances of the dwindling number of corporations which decide what is and is not news for much of the English-speaking world.

In particular, Russia Today has a great deal to offer Western citizens concerned about the turn their own societies are taking. The excesses of the Soviet Union are fresh in the minds of many who work for RT or contribute to its output, and this perspective energizes and informs some part of serving an audience which historically has taken its freedoms for granted.

Russia Today is also to be commended for providing a broad range of views and giving a platform to many articulate and important voices, some of which – for whatever reason – would be denied space in other English-language media with a worldwide reach.

Lionel

RT is without peer in providing comprehensive, no holds barred, in-depth analyses on a host of subjects and areas conventional and mainstream media have either refused or failed to address. First and foremost has been its dedication to according a subject the depth and coverage density that it deserves. Complex and historically deep-seated issues cannot be thrown together slapdash if the consumer’s ultimate comprehension and the ability to assess the matter presented are of concern. RT sees a subject through to its conclusion rather than a perfunctory sampling of the issue and moving on as is too often the case in mainstream media. As the RT consumer is not subjected to a steady and mindless fusillade of commercial interruptions and distractions, news and features can be thoroughly vetted, parsed and dissected. And finally, as a legal analyst, constitutional issues are of supreme importance to me and no news source has been as thorough and comprehensive as RT when it comes to privacy, the militarization of police, the prison industrial complex and challenges to free speech. RT is a template and exemplar for just how powerful and critical news reportage can actually be. Happy first decade, RT.

John Wight

RT has over its existence proved a bulwark of intellectual and analytical resistance to the dominant ideas of the Empire. For too long the world has labored under this domination, responsible for creating an information and cultural desert and calling it truth. Not anymore. The Death Star no longer reigns supreme thanks to RT. Long may its resistance and defiance continue. May the force be with you.

Catherine Shakdam

Happy Birthday RT! As far as I’m concerned and I truly believe many, many people will recognize themselves in my comments, RT has been a burst of fresh air in an otherwise suffocating media landscape. RT’ strength and traction remain its dedication to REAL journalism, not corporate-organized misinformation. If not for RT, voices like mine would not have been given a platform, and THAT, again, stands credit to RT’s open-mindedness and desire to go beyond the accepted narrative to get to the truth. Hands down the best media organization there is; I have no doubt RT will continue to grow from strength to strength.

But beyond that RT, offers balance where there was only onesidedness and reason where there was irrationality. So yes happy birthday but most of all thank you!

Bryan Macdonald

I cast my mind back to 2003. Britain and the United States were pushing for an illegal, and senseless, war in Iraq which all right-thinking people opposed. The governments of Russia, France and Germany tried to resist it, but were overwhelmed by the Anglo-American propaganda machine. I'd like to think that if RT had been around at the time, it mightn't have been as easy for the warmongers.

However, my special interest area is Russia. Cast your mind back a decade and Russia was, frequently, the butt of jokes in the Western world. Coverage of the country was an endless stream of negativity, often downright racist in its nature. What RT has done is allowed Russians to tell their own stories to a worldwide audience, without them having to pass through a Western filter first. The value of that is incalculable.

Dan Glazebrook

RT has been a breath of fresh air, providing a professional platform for activists and dissidents to broadcast views which challenge mainstream narratives on foreign, trade and economic policy. To think that such a platform - on prime-time TV, and made with the highest production values - would exist in a country like Britain was unthinkable just ten years ago. It has given people access to a genuine range of opinions, massively broadening the highly constricted boundaries of debate that dominates news programming in the West. In particular, it has given a voice to people who actually support governments under attack by the West. This is a very clear breach of the unwritten rule of mainstream Western media – that whilst Western foreign policy can be criticized, under no circumstances must the states it targets be shown to have any popular support; only those who accept in advance that these states are illegitimate must be allowed airtime. By breaking this taboo, RT has humanized the countless tens of millions who support such governments – and brought home the human cost of the West’s wars of societal destruction, euphemistically downplayed as ‘regime change’. Long may they continue to do so.

Andre Vltchek

RT literally changed the world, and that is not hyperbole. In the past, information used to come almost exclusively from one-sided, Western and corporate sources. Now there is finally a diversity of views in the world. Several other channels, on different continents, are greatly inspired by RT. Nothing is the same. Tens of millions, all over the world, joined ranks of thinking beings. No matter how small is my participation in this grand 'project', I feel proud to be part of the RT team and its dedicated efforts to improve the world.

Finian Cunningham

Perhaps one of the best compliments to RT on its 10th anniversary is the increasing vehemence from the United States for the news service to be blocked from broadcasting. We have seen shrill calls from senior Washington politicians and US broadcasting “regulators” (sic) for such a draconian curtailment in RT’s service. This extraordinary desire for official US repression of a news channel is in conjunction with vicious slurs against RT from various reactionary politicians and pundits, claiming that it is a “Kremlin propaganda service”.

All this reactionary commotion is testimony to the quality of RT’s news and analysis. It merely demonstrates that the information RT is providing is actually quality journalism. The American authorities are seriously discommoded because RT is, through its journalism, shedding an accurate light on the depredations and deceptions of Washington’s foreign policies.

RT has exposed the unconscionable and criminal conduct of Washington and its other Western allies in many international events, in particular the violation of international law by the US in carrying out regime-change operations and subversion against sovereign states. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen are just some examples of where Western pretensions of upholding democratic rights and international law are exposed as nothing but a cynical charade.

The collusion of Washington and its European minions in deploying terrorist proxy groups to fulfill their illicit, covert schemes of regime change has been exposed through the courageous reporting and analysis provided by RT. This is a huge indictment of Western governments that they are seen to be actually consorting with terrorism. This calibre of journalism has been abnegated by Western mainstream news media, since they often program their “news” in subservience to the political agendas of Western governments. RT is performing a vital service to inform citizens around the world about what is really happening in major developments. This is vital for the functioning of democracy, international law and the empowerment of citizens to speak truth to power. The fact that Western “authorities” – the US government and its lackeys in the European Union – want to silence RT is proof that RT is seriously challenging their legitimacy, or lack of it, in the eyes of the Western public. It also illustrates the fraudulence of Western claims about the right to “freedom of speech”. That freedom is, evidently, only granted by Western authorities if it does not challenge their abuse of power, whether against foreign countries or against their own citizens.

The increasing popularity of RT among the Western public – who are abandoning respect for their traditional Western media outlets – is a superb accolade for the achievements made by RT in only 10 years of service. By informing people, RT is empowering people and likewise disempowering Western governments who have for too long gotten away with violations and conflicts imposed on the world to serve the hegemonic ambitions of their ruling elite. At a time of increasingly reckless foreign misconduct by Western power, RT is a crucial democratizing influence. Here’s to many more years of excellent journalism. Happy Birthday!

Sharmine Narwani

Has Russia Today made a difference to global media coverage in the past ten years? There is a very easy answer to this. As an analyst of Middle East geopolitics, I cringe to think where my region would be without this major media outlet giving voice to people, events and leaders whose worldview goes entirely uncovered by the traditional mainstream. Perception is 100 percent of politics, goes the old adage. So where would we be if we were still constrained by a single narrative on All Things? More ignorant, sadly homogenous, catastrophically limited in this information age. Russia Today has sometimes singlehandedly offered us all the opportunity to challenge our perceptions of the world around us. And for political writers like myself, it has offered up a valuable platform from which we can question conventional wisdoms and chronicle untold stories. Yes, RT has made a difference. As global power centers, economies and social systems shift further into unknown territory in the next decade, I look forward to more of RT where I know I can find the 'fuller' story.

Danielle Ryan

RT has established itself as an important voice in a media landscape increasingly characterized by group think and myopia. There's no better evidence of this, than to see the sheer venom with which its detractors go after the channel. From in-depth interviews on shows like World Apart, to excellent and award-winning documentary reporting from all over the world, RT's success lies in the fact that it adds something of real value to the media environment. News consumers deserve to hear both sides of every story, and everything in between. RT provides a much-needed alternative perspective on world events.

Iben Thranholm

I started following RT when the Ukraine crisis erupted in 2014. The amount of information that was never published in the Western media shocked me. Western censorship works primarily through omission to achieve the desired conscious and intelligent manipulation of the opinions of Westerners. RT enabled me to understand the political ploys and motivation.

Western mainstream media ignores voices and angles that do not conform to its narrative. Crucial questions are never asked. The reason why growing numbers in the West understand that their media fail to tell the real story is that RT’s highly professional journalists seek the truth and publish it fearlessly.

RT does great service to not just suppressed critical voices in the West, but to the truth. Morally, truth and freedom are mutually dependent. By serving truth, RT serves freedom.

LISTEN MORE:

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.