TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC)-RT programming was removed from its two broadcast frequencies in the DC area. The move proves that claims made by the US government that the channel’s registration as a foreign agent would not affect its work were false.
Audiences in the Washington, DC area are no longer able to tune in to RT's regular air broadcasts. Part of the reason is that MHz Networks, a Virginia-based not-for-profit distributor of international entertainment and news programming, decided to auction their licenses to frequencies previously used to broadcast RT, along with a dozen other outlets. The development was reported by Bloomberg on Thursday, which said that the change will take place on April 1. The auction of licenses happened in March 2017.
RT can now reveal that the channel was in fact dropped by its two signal broadcasters in the area, WNVT and WNVC, on February 2, 2018. This fact was later independently confirmed by MHz Networks through the Associated Press.
Anna Belkina, RT’s chief of communications, said that although the channel is not “at liberty to disclose the details, we know that this decision was linked to RT's forced registration as a 'foreign agent' in the US.” The US Department of Justice forced RT America to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in 2017.
Belkina added that “it is highly disappointing that despite repeated assurances that FARA status would not impact RT's reporting and broadcasting capabilities, the registration, in fact, has placed undue burden on multiple areas of RT operations, and pressure on our partners as well, thus unequivocally demonstrating that the spirit of the FARA law is discriminatory even if the letter of that law isn’t.”
RT will continue to be available to viewers in the DC area on other platforms, including satellite.
Commenting on the development, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that it was part of a “concerning and frightening trend” in the US, which represented a “discriminatory policy towards the media in the United States.”
“We are carefully studying the situation and consider it very dangerous and consequential,” he added.