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Expelled from Europe, Russia's Sputnik news agency focuses its propaganda on Africa and Asia

Wednesday, 11 October 2023, 18:05
Expelled from Europe, Russia's Sputnik news agency focuses its propaganda on Africa and Asia
Stock photo: The Insider

In the face of EU sanctions, the Russian propaganda news agency Sputnik will have to close its branches or conduct a major overhaul of its operations. In particular, it is planned to "shift the focus" to Africa and Asia, as well as some "friendly" countries in Europe.

Source: The Insider, citing sources in Sputnik branches

Quote: "In the eastern and western parts of Europe where Sputnik had offices, they have closed, with the exception of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. But these are radio stations, and there are no separate websites accompanying them. Next in line is the closure of the office in Georgia. They are facing litigation there. Sputnik in Armenia may be shut down in the near future, but so far they are working as normal."


Details: Another Insider source said the last working day for some employees of Sputnik branches that are closing in Europe is officially 11 October.

The source said that some employees have been offered the chance to change branches or work on other projects run by Russia Today, which owns Sputnik.

According to the sources, there are many reasons for closing the agency’s subsidiaries, ranging from expressly financial reasons (assets and accounts are frozen, so salaries cannot be paid) to technical reasons (they are not issued with encryption certificates, so the agency's websites do not work over HTTPS in any browsers except Russian ones).

In addition, there are problems with personnel because, as the Insider’s sources note, many journalists, for example in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, are not prepared to "serve the Russian propaganda machine in its fight against Ukraine".

The Sputnik website in Moldova was blocked on 26 February 2022, and on 7 March the same thing happened to the station's radio broadcasting.

As The Insider notes, because of this, Russia Today is having to redirect its resources and focus to countries in Africa and Asia, as well as others that are considered friendly, such as Serbia.

One of the sources confirmed that Russia Today will soon be rebuilding their television centre and newsroom in Moscow for broadcasting in Serbian because their funding for this has been restored.

The Insider reports that Sputnik radio in Arabic began broadcasting in Lebanon on 2 October. It broadcasts on a frequency previously used by BBC Radio’s Arabic service (which went off the air in Lebanon in January 2023 due to a lack of funding).

Sputnik is also expanding its broadcasts within Russia and in the occupied territories of Ukraine, taking over the frequencies of other radio stations, including Echo of Moscow, which has been forced out of Russia.

Russia Today’s press service did not respond to The Insider’s request for comment. 

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