Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Early success demonstrates continued need for unbiased news in Russia

Current Time America main anchor Roman Mamonov, left, and news anchor Ihar Tsikhanenko, right, prepare for a broadcast in the offices of Voice of America in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The BBG is claiming success. 

Despite Russian attempts to fence off news from the outside world, we are seeing truth and facts seeping into Russia.

What I do not see, however, are facts from the BBG.  Raw numbers of people reached, percentage increases or decreases, Measurements of Effectiveness or Measurements of Impact.  

I met with the BBG CEO a wee bit over one year ago and he said MOE and MOI were being implemented. If this were the case, this article would have been the ideal time to use those real measurements.  If the numbers were going down, this would be the time to highlight what Russia is doing to counter external information reaching the Russian people. If MOE or MOI could not be accurately measured, say so.  If external measurements were not possible, this only means someone at the BBG is not doing their job with Congress in mind. Congress funds the BBG and MOE and MOI give real feedback to Representative and Senator Moneybags. It also means someone does not know how to find real ways to measure effectiveness and impact.  This probably means external experts have not been contacted, used, and become part of the process.  This also means Congress may be throwing money down a sucking hole, at least that is what the folks at BBGWatch will say.  Fight the naysayers with facts, Mr. CEO.

The BBG must begin to implement and advertise MOE and MOI.  Your main competitors, Rossiya Segodnya and RT advertise raw numbers and they say they’re going up. I do not see the same from the West and we are in an information war.  We lost the first battle of 2014 – 2018, let’s not lose the war.

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This month we marked one year since we officially launched Current Time (CT).

The 24/7 Russian-language digital network, led by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in cooperation with Voice of America, is bringing highly sought-after real news to Russian-speaking audiences around the globe.

I want to congratulate everyone involved with CT on the amazing growth we have seen this year. Demand for the network is growing; it is now seen in nearly 30 countries—including Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, the Baltics and in Central Asia—on 77 cable and satellite networks and 47 affiliate stations.

I’m proud to say it is meeting the needs of Russian-speaking audiences looking for an alternative to Kremlin-controlled disinformation and propaganda. Despite continued restrictions on Russian airwaves, millions of people are seeking out its content through other means. Its innovative social media videos, for example, were viewed more than 400 million times in 2017, and almost half of those coming from within Russia.

This network is a signature accomplishment of U.S. international media and is rapidly becoming the model for future collaborative efforts among its five networks.

On behalf of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, I congratulate the dedicated and talented staff of RFE/RL and VOA who have worked so hard to make Current Time a reality and a success.  I am proud of CT and look forward to its continued growth.



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