Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aimed at discrediting independent media and journalism.
The 2020 World Press Freedom Index clearly shows the positions of Western Media in the world. Russia ranked 149th and China 177th on the list.
As the Similar Web analysis suggests, RT ranks 347th in the Global rank and 57th in the News and Media category. (data from 7 Sept. review). Sputniknews ranked 875th in the Global rank and 153rd in News and Media.
As for the RT and Sputnik popularity on the social media, in particular, on YouTube, it is unclear what methodology RT has used to reach the claim that it is the most-watched TV channel on Youtube. For further debunk read here.
Concerning popularity on Facebook, it is worth to know that last year Facebook has removed hundreds of pages, groups, and accounts on its Facebook and Instagram platforms linked to Sputnik, the company says those were part of two online disinformation operations targeting users across the former Soviet space. As Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy said:
"The Page administrators and account owners primarily represented themselves as independent news Pages or general interest Pages on topics like weather, travel, sports, economics, or politicians in Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption."
More about Russian Social Media Influence can be read here.
RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik are the two foreign language flagships of Russia’s campaign to influence international public opinion. Both outlets present themselves as media that provide alternative views to the mainstream in international news reporting. Read our analysis describing three fundamental differences between these outlets and what is normally perceived as independent journalism.