Ex-foreign correspondent explains what’s behind ‘media war’ against RT in Germany
Germany’s crackdown on RT is a “purely political” move, media consultant Jim Laurie told RT. The case against the network has nothing to do with content, he argued, but everything to do with Germany’s poor relations with Russia.
RT launched its round-the-clock German-language TV channel this week to a storm of controversy in the West. Broadcasting into Germany from Serbia, the channel’s arrival was met with threats of legal action from the media authority of Berlin-Brandenburg, and RT was described by the EU regulators’ representative on Friday as a “nuisance” that “will be taken care of” by the authorities.
While regulators in Berlin dubiously claim that RT’s new channel breaches German media law, Jim Laurie – an American media consultant and former ABC foreign correspondent – thinks the controversy is entirely political.
“You can’t separate what’s happening with RT, with Chinese television, with other broadcasters from the political situation,” he told RT International on Saturday. “The poor relations between Germany and Russia right now. The poor relations between the US and Russia right now. The poor relations between the United States and China. All of this is linked.”
Western countries, he continued, haven’t taken kindly to the arrival of a host of state-linked news outlets from the early 2000s onwards, among them RT, Al-Jazeera, China’s CGTN, and Turkey’s TRT World.
“The nations that do not have good relations with the US, or Germany, get penalized,” he explained, stating that while US networks may freely broadcast what some spectators brand “fake news,” they are not subject to the same restrictions as foreign outlets.
It’s “purely political,” Laurie declared, describing how international news outlets “become embroiled in the international politics of the day.”
During the ‘Russiagate’ panic of the last several years, RT was targeted by the US government, accused of election “interference” by America’s intelligence agencies, and its parent company was forced to register as a foreign agent to operate in the US. China’s CGTN was subject to the same registration demands in the US, and stripped of its broadcast license in the UK earlier this year.
RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan previously condemned the “declaration of media war against Russia by Germany,” and deputy editor-in-chief Anna Belkina said on Friday that RT will fight to keep RT DE on the air, despite the “unprecedented pressure.”