MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed as unacceptable US Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim the RT news channel, which provides an alternative stance on world events, is a “propaganda bullhorn.”
“Speaking on mass media like this is not very cultured,” Lavrov told a CIS Youth Diplomats Forum Friday. He said he “could understand John Kerry as Russia Today has today become a serious rival for CNN and other Western media.”
The international multilingual Russia-based television network RT, previously known as Russia Today, has broken the monopoly of Western media and its alternative angle of events is gaining more popularity across the world, Lavrov said.
Some time ago, Western media were sure that they possibly had a full monopoly and faced no rivals, Lavrov said adding that “Russia Today has earned a huge audience in the US, West Europe, without speaking about Latin America and the Arab world.”
“We will be actively supporting this independent alternative viewpoint on what the Western propaganda tells us,” Lavrov said.
Earlier this month, RT was honored with a prestigious gold medal award at the New York Festivals, besting US-based CNN, and claiming an additional two bronze medals.
At a press conference at the State Department on Thursday, Kerry criticized the RT network.
“In fact, the propaganda bullhorn that is the state-sponsored RT program has been deployed to promote – actually, RT network – has been deployed to promote President [Vladimir] Putin’s fantasy about what is playing out on the ground,” he said.
RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said the news channel would send an official request to the US State Department to “point out the specific examples where RT distorted facts.”
“We regret that the head of the US foreign ministry knows so little about the situation that is really happening in Ukraine,” Simonyan said, adding that Kerry refuses to acknowledge the facts which he doesn’t like and allows himself to make such “unfounded accusations.”
Tensions between Moscow and Washington rose to a fever pitch following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March. While the US supports the new Ukrainian authorities, who recently launched a military operation against pro-federalization supporters, Moscow has urged the White House to use its influence on Kiev to make it acknowledge responsibility for the ongoing crisis and implement an agreement reached last week in Geneva.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.