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Lansing: Russian Offering Is a Model for BBG

Cites enhanced cooperation among member networks

The CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors says its new Russian-language digital network “is the model of what is to come in the future of U.S. international media.”

John Lansing writes in a blog post that the video and social network called Current Time aims to provide “accurate, professional, independent and unbiased news to Russian-speakers in and around Russia, and around the world.” He called it “independent journalism for those looking to broaden their choices in a media space where Kremlin-controlled disinformation is endemic and growing.”

The network launched officially in February after a soft start last October; it is produced by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty with contributions from Voice of America.

“Current Time serves as a model for how BBG networks can operate,” Lansing blogged, “with enhanced cooperation, to maximize the agility, efficiency and impact of the BBG networks and to effectively address the rapidly evolving global media environment. It is also a reflection of our core beliefs that accurate, independent, fact-based reporting is the best defense against propaganda.” (Read the blog.)

BBG oversees the U.S.-funded international broadcasting and media networks Voice of America, RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Networks/Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa; and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting/Radio and TV Martí. The board is in the midst of a five-year plan; its priorities included targeting resources to cover key regions of strategic interest, “aggressively” continuing a shift to digital platforms and increasing cooperation among its networks. Lansing joined in 2015 as its first CEO.