‘Keep digging up the truth,’ Ken Livingstone tells RT amid alternative news crackdown
RT should “keep fighting and digging up the truth” despite persistent attempts by US authorities to crack down on the international news channel, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said.
Speaking after RT America was forced by the US to register as a foreign agent, Livingstone said lawyers should look into whether the move could be challenged legally.
The move came after US intelligence agencies claimed the channel had been used as an instrument for Russia’s alleged meddling in US elections, something the Russian government has vehemently denied.
“If it can be challenged legally, challenge it legally, otherwise just sail on telling the truth that you believe,” the former Labour mayor said. The idea of a free press in the US or the UK is farcical, he added, as mainstream media is owned by billionaires working towards their own interests rather than those of the people. Livingstone also mocked “the idea that we have a free press and wicked old Russia doesn’t,” saying there is really “not a great deal of difference” between the two.
RT’s ads were also banned by Twitter last month. That decision came as the social media platform was due to appear in front of US Congress to testify on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Ironically, Twitter banned the ads despite having previously offered RT a promo package worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and which the channel rejected as it was too costly.
Livingstone, however, says these moves are counterproductive as they will only incite more people to watch the alternative news channel. Arguing people are thirsty for the truth, he said he would not be surprised if “foreign listeners of RT will be more in a few weeks’ time than they are now.”
The decision to force RT to register as a foreign agent has caused widespread backlash, with critics saying it is in breach of the US Constitution’s First Amendment and the fundamental right to free speech. Livingstone suggested the reason for such a crackdown at the hands of US authorities is that America now feels “vulnerable” as it realizes it is “no longer a superpower standing massively alone.”
“America feels it is in decline,” he said. “It sees Russia and China growing enormously strong and so on. I think there is more and more of an attempt over the years to come to try and suppress what the American people can view, because if American people can see the truth about a lot of what’s happening around the world, they will be questioning what their government is doing behind all of that and so on.”