|RT en français|
|Launched||18 December 2017|
|Owned by||(ANO) TV-Novosti|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
(Dare to question)
|Sister channel(s)||RT International|
RT France, also known as RT en français, is the French version of the Russian international news channel RT. The channel is based in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and funded by the Russian government.
Similar to other RT channels, the neutrality and objectivity of RT France's information is regularly questioned.
RT revealed in late 2015 its willingnesss to develop its TV network among the French-speaking audience in countries such as France, Belgium and Switzerland. The channel was launched on December 18, 2017, broadcasting in France, Belgium, Canada and the Mediterranean.
The channel, like other RT channels, cycles around 30 minutes of news and 30 minutes of other features, 24/7, and is able to provide rolling coverage on breaking news events when warranted.
Assessments and responses
The political science researcher Maxime Audinet discussed the neutrality of RT France by stating: "Today it's not easy at all to find "fake news", or at least gross attempts at misinformation on the sites of RT, for example. They certainly have a conspiratorial past, but it definitely seems more interesting to observe the nature of their editorial line, which is highly selective and consistent with the Moscow-based view of the world."
In 2017, current French president Emmanuel Macron accused RT France of spreading "propaganda" during his 2017 presidential campaign and banned RT reporters from his campaign headquarters. He described the channel as a tool for "influence-peddling."
On June 28, 2018, RT France was found in breach by the CSA for "failures of honesty, the rigor of the information and the diversity of the viewpoints" in a subject on the Syria. In a topic broadcast on April 13, "disputing the reality of chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian city of Douma", the CSA observed that the channel "had not faithfully translated comments of Syrian witnesses". The CSA imposed no sanctions on RT, but the regulator has the authority to fine a broadcaster or suspend its licence. However, RT acknowledged that these actual words were spoken by the witness, but in a longer version of the interview that was not broadcast on air.
RT France then apologized for the technical error, claiming "not to have invented a piece of evidence by means of a deliberately fraudulent translation as many media believe" with evidence as full testimony. Its president Xenia Fedorova claimed that "RT France covers all subjects, including the Syrian conflict, in a totally balanced manner, by giving all sides a chance to comment." As a result, RT France appealed a week later to the Conseil d'État to overturn the decision of the CSA.
On July 18, 2018, the Syndicat national des journalistes (SNJ) wrote a blog stating that RT France journalists were denied access on numerous occasions to cover major events, such as presidential elections. The main reason was that "RT is regularly blamed at the highest level as a tool for propaganda and misinformation."
On October 17, 2018, during an interview with a Puremedia journalist, French government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux, re-stated the State's refusal to open its press room to RT France and the Sputnik, saying: "They are not news organizations. They are propaganda funded by a foreign state."
In November 2018, RT France was accredited to allow access to some Elysée press conferences. But in February 2019, LREM refused to allow the channel to cover its European campaigns, on the basis that RT and Sputnik, "are not news organizations but propaganda in the service of the Kremlin. They should not be considered to be media, since they do not verify or cross-check information".
Despite constant claims and attacks due to propaganda and misinformation, RT France continues to be seen by viewers as an objective and neutral 24-hour news outlet. Some has even preferred it over BFMTV and CNews. During the yellow vests movement, RT France chose to provide a different style of reporting than the aforesaid channels, focusing heavily on on-the-ground reporting, including many unedited interviews with protestors, and eschewing so-called "talking heads". RT's coverage on YouTube gathered around 23 million views, twice that of Le Monde, L’Obs, France 24, Le Figaro and LeHuffPost combined. At least 14 journalists, one-fifth of the channel's entire team of journalists, suffered injuries in some way while covering the movement. It is later noted that they have praised RT France for giving them a platform to express their opinions, while at the same time, criticizing other mainstream channels due to too much in-studio analysis and "censorship" of the reporting style.
- "Russia Today se lance en France: "Ce n'est pas une propagande grossière"". LExpress.fr (in French). 2017-12-17. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
- Grépinet, Mariana (2018-05-24). "Russia Today: "Télé-Poutine" sous haute surveillance". Paris Match (in French).
- "Russia Warns French TV After France Calls Out Falsified RT Report". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
- "RT France avertie par le CSA pour un sujet sur la Syrie". L'Obs (in French). Retrieved 2019-02-28.
- "Syndicat National des Journalistes | Premier syndicat français de journalistes". www.snj.fr. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
- "LREM refuse d'accréditer Sputnik et RT pour les européennes". LExpress.fr (in French). 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
- "Un reporter de RT France blessé en pleine manifestation des Gilets jaunes". RT en Français (in French). Retrieved 2019-03-21.
- Sputnik. "«Gilets jaunes»: 12 journalistes de RT blessés, selon sa rédactrice en chef". fr.sputniknews.com (in French). Retrieved 2019-03-21.
- "A #GiletJaune loudly thanks @RTenfrancais for its honest coverage of the protests... At the same time, several protesters gather outside MSM #FakeNews channel @BFMTV in anger for having pushed so many to vote #Macron". @Liberte_info. 2018-12-29. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
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