Russian state broadcaster RT is set to launch a French-language channel on Monday, seven months after being labelled a spreader of « deceitful propaganda » by President Emmanuel Macron. RT (formerly Russia Today) already has a foothold in France through a French-language website and a popular YouTube channel with videos dubbed or subtitled in French, some of which have chalked up hundreds of thousands of views.
The launch of a TV network will see its staff of 50 journalists working from a new studio in western Paris compete in the highly competitive rolling-news sector in France. Florent Parmentier, a Russia expert at Sciences Po university in Paris, said RT prided itself on antagonising mainstream commentators and politicians. « So they give space to the views of the European far right but also to Occupy Wall Street… in a very distinctive style that is much more impertinent than most other networks, » he said. »The idea of RT is: ‘we will tell you things you will not hear elsewhere’, » he said, emphasising its focus on what it portrayed as the « hypocrisy » of the West on issues such as human rights, corruption and foreign meddling.
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