The US Congress is gearing up to investigate RT.
Yesterday The Duran reported…
[Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen] wants to give the US Justice Department the powers to investigate the ‘funding sources and foreign connections’ of RT. It would require an expansion of the current Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Just to make the Senator’s job easier, here is some information. RT originates in Russia, that’s what the ‘R’ stands for. As a reference point the ‘A’ in ABC stands for American and the ‘B’ in BBC stands for British. I hope the Senator from New Hampshire is still with me on this.
America has a Constitutional first amendment, guaranteeing free speech and operates a broadly free market economy. This means that companies from around the world are allowed to operate in the United States and do so with the protection of the first amendment.
In times of war, such rights are often suspended in the name of national security. But America is not formally at war with Russia. That is why RT can broadcast in the US and make original programming in the US. This is the same situation that Canada’s CBC or Britain’s BBC find themselves in, just to name a few of the scores of foreign broadcasters with operations in the US.
That leaves Shaheen with two options. First of all, she can modify elements of the first amendment, although amending the constitution is a lengthy and cumbersome process.
Alternatively, she can convince the President to ask congress for a declaration of war on Russia. America has no grounds to go to war with Russia, but nor did America have any reason to reign war upon Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Yemen.
RT is only as popular in America as the American marketplace allows. The power of the internet and social media mean that Americans, like most others across the wider world, have access to a plethora of information and opinions from all over the world. I defy anyone in the US Senate to explain why this is a bad thing?
It’s as though the world has adopted the American First Amendment by proxy and seemingly they know what to do with it a bit better than the fading fake news media run by the US elite.
Short of going to war with Russia, Russian media in the US cannot be considered more dangerous than that any other foreign country, that is unless racism is involved.
The likes of Senator Shaheen are digging themselves into an ever bigger hole of hypocrisy and they are doing so on an issue that few Americans care about. Most Americans are concerned about the economy, living standards, jobs, their own free speech and anti-terrorist measures. Whether RT has the ability to be seen or not, doesn’t register outside of the hysterical circles of Washington D.C.
Guess what, Russia can also play that game and investigate CNN and other US “propaganda bullhorns”. Reuters reports…
The Russian lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has approved a proposal to launch an investigation into U.S. media organizations that operate in Russia, it said in a statement posted on its web site late on Friday.
The investigation, which will be conducted by the Duma’s information policy, technologies and communications committee, will check whether CNN, the Voice of America, Radio Liberty and “other American media” are complying with Russian law.
The statement said the Duma backed the move on Friday evening after Konstantin Zatulin, an MP from the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, proposed an investigation to retaliate for what he called a “repressive” U.S. move against Russian state-funded broadcaster RT.
He said he was referring to an initiative by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who has introduced a bill to empower the Justice Department to investigate possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act by RT.
Shaheen, a Democrat, cited a U.S. intelligence agency assessment that suggested RT was part of a Russian influence campaign to help Donald Trump win the White House last year. The Kremlin and RT have strongly rejected that allegation.
Foreign media in Russia are overseen by the Russian Foreign Ministry, whose spokeswoman Maria Zakharova this week singled out Shaheen’s demarche for criticism, quipping ironically that the senator should have included a clause drawing up a list of books for burning.
The U.S. move also solicited the ire of Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, who on Wednesday told the daily Izvestia it had echoes of the activities of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, who oversaw a campaign to expose people he regarded as communists in the 1950s.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.