Here’s How Russian Media Turns UK Viewers Pro-Russian

Every nation has an official broadcaster, all are bias, but some are bias on a whole other level.

It’s safe to say we all have friends or know people who are decent human beings, able to tell the difference between right and wrong. But our moral compasses marginally shift off-target once in a while, bewildered by narratives played out in the media and through the grapevine of hearsay/opinion. 

You may have heard of a little thing in the news recently involving Ukraine. Exposure to the topic has increased of late, fought on the ground of a West versus East perspective, London & Washington versus Moscow, NATO versus Russia but however you see it, whichever way you view events of late, the subject should really read as ‘Ukraine chooses side that some disagree with for good reason, but is ultimately a choice out of desperation.’ Let me explain.

We all know why Russia is at the border of Ukraine, but the background to this story is largely missing. Ukraine’s history is one of blood, defence and propaganda, with its language dispensed of, its people eradicated and mannerisms teased and ridiculed by Russia and the former Soviet Union. Generally speaking, Russia oppressed and occupied Ukraine for years, yet its media largely populates the theory that this is not the case. In the UK, Russian state channel RT News and other conspiracy-laden media generated the idea that western governments orchestrated a coup in Kyiv catalysing the Maidan revolution of 2013/14. But in short, the truth is – pro-Russian President ‘ Viktor Yanukovych, disagreed with public opinion on closer relations with the EU, deciding to continue ties with Russia. Hurt by this decision, Ukraine’s people gathered in the capital, Kyiv, to demonstrate against his decision. Overwhelmed by this turnout, Yanukovych fled the Mezhyhirya (the presidential house) to Russia.

Approximately 100 people were shot by sniper fire, and the shooter’s identities remain unknown

In the east of Ukraine, Russian backed separatists attacked cities including Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Donetsk and Luhansk with only the latter two cities controlled. Fighting broke out for 8 years, 14,000 people have died and the region of Crimea was annexed and invaded by Russia after an illegal referendum was carried out. 

Fast forward to today, unprovoked, Russia’s government moved nearly 200,000 troops to its border with Ukraine, countless assault vehicles including tanks, artillery, attack helicopters, field hospitals and bridging equipment. 

Why is opinion divided?

Russia’s main outlet around the world is RT news which offers interviews to politicians, commentators and analysts on almost any topic though mostly social issues shunned by western media. But a large western viewership are curious in these items of interest and this is where frustration grows and Russia capitalises.

The topics RT News are willing to cover range from the war in Syria, Palestine’s longstanding conflict with Israel, British poverty and protests, the crisis in Yemen, American social issues and effectively any country that disagrees with Russian foreign and domestic policy. They have provided a platform to figures including Stop the War coalition, George Galloway, Nigel Farage and MPs Johnny Mercer and Rosie Duffield

The aforementioned plus considerably more have a substantial rapport with a staunch following of anti-war and social justice activists campaigning to represent a peaceful and acceptable reprieve for many topics. Why do they appear on RT News? Simple, native media outlets fail to provide an acceptable period of coverage to the causes they care about. In return, airtime given to them is faith-time placed back into stories debated by the channel which is where Russian interests become their own and Russian disinformation thrives.

The Russian government has been able to cultivate support for its causes by exploiting those who care dearly for their own ideals by taking advantage of underreported stories, and then, presenting their own through the misrepresentation of facts. This is not to say that those who appear on RT News are bad people, rather, it says more about bias throughout the world’s media. But cheerleading Russia only to oppose the United States is massively contradictory and vice-versa.

It must be noted that RT News’ coverage of Palestine represents a conflict of interest due to many years of the Kremlin’s ties to Netanyahu’s Israel. Not only was there intimate dialogue but a back and forth etiquette was presented between the two even going as far as to cancel the sale of arms to any nation that disagreed with their politics ultimately leading to a consummation of weapons sales

Russia openly supported/opposed then re-supported nations openly despising one another including Israel, Iran and Syria. With Russian aggression spilling through the land of Ukraine without respect for international borders and a refusal to believe it is a real country, it’s safe to say there will be no respect given to Palestine given the West’s viewpoint is that it does not exist either, despite communities thriving there for years. The same was said by Stalin of Poland, Hitler of Austria and Britain of Ireland. Welcome to the world of hypocrisy.

What can be done?

If anyone is to be trusted – trust your logic if it is sound, but trust your humanity above all else. But whoever you trust, remember that Russia is not your friend, nor does it care about you.

Does that mean any country is immune to human rights abuses and war crimes during times of conflict? No. Russia has imperialist agendas just like the West. To place one above the other would be unkind to the victims on the receiving end of their propaganda and whatever agitprop they throw at the world. If the West wants to quell the influence of Russian media, they must provide a platform to all spectrums of opinion and for all sides of important stories with justifiable points in the interest of impartiality and above all else – justice for all.

Photo credit/graphics: WEF & Rawpixel

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