WASHINGTON (May 19, 2015) — Current Time, a TV news program for Russian-speaking audiences in countries bordering Russia, launched its new weekend edition with shows affording viewers a fresh alternative to Russian-controlled TV.
Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) share the mic on Current Time’s daily show Monday through Friday, and now will serve up weekend programs, with VOA hosting Current Time Week In Review (Настоящее время. Итоги) on Saturdays and RFE/RL taking charge of the Sunday program, Current Time This Week (Настоящее время. Неделя).
“We are expanding our efforts to bring independent, factual and compelling reporting to audiences that have little alternative to official Russian media,” said Nenad Pejic, RFE/RL Editor-in-Chief.
“The balanced and responsible discussion on Current Time is in marked contrast to the Kremlin’s aggressive media empire that denies an outlet for opposition alternatives and public debate,” added VOA Director David Ensor.
“For Moscow it is very important now to keep the victorious posture,” Dmitry Oreshkin told VOA’s Yulia Savchenko, host of the Saturday edition of Current Time. Oreshkin heads an independent Moscow-based political research group. “The Russian propaganda narrative is that America got scared of us,” he said. Other highlights from the inaugural Saturday program included coverage of the Kerry-Lavrov talks in Sochi, the issue of Ukraine’s future in NATO, and the latest diplomatic moves between Russia and China.
The first Sunday program, anchored by RFE/RL’s Sergey Dorofeyev, looked at Boris Nemtsov’s posthumously published report on Russian military involvement in Ukraine, the tenth anniversary of the Andijon massacre in Uzbekistan, and the trial of Nadya Savchenko in Moscow. The program included an exclusive interview with the Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel Valentin Fedichev of Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation, who noted that, “Ukraine is facing well-organized Russian military aggression in the East.”
“With Current Time, our networks are offering audiences professional, independent journalism that they cannot get elsewhere. This includes reporting from the front lines, but also regional and global issues that receive little coverage on official channels,” said BBG Interim CEO and Director André Mendes.
Current Time is carried by more than 10 public and private affiliate channels in Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Ukraine, and is available to Russian speakers everywhere on digital platforms, including social media. Drawing on a network of reporters in the region, across Russia, and in European capitals and the U.S., it presents a daily, 30-minute mix of live news coverage, interviews, original features, and political satire. The show is one part of the U.S. government’s efforts to respond to Russian propaganda in the region.