Washington, D.C. — The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ CEO John F. Lansing testified before the Helsinki Commission today on the escalation of Russian disinformation around the world and the BBG’s response to it.
“Make no mistake the United States is confronted by information warfare, and I don’t use that term lightly,” said Lansing. “The good work of our journalists around the world is an essential element of the national security toolkit through the export of objective, independent, and professional journalism and the universal values of free media and free speech.”
Lansing detailed the February launch of Current Time, a 24/7 Russian-language digital network that aims to reach Russian speakers in Russia, the Russian periphery, and around the world.
Current Time produces daily news shows about the United States and global events (including within Russia), and features reports on business, entrepreneurship, civil society, culture, and corruption. It is distributed in more than 23 countries on 59 satellite, cable, and digital distributors.
Co-chair Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) agreed with Lansing on the effectiveness of the network, “Current Time is a responsible and responsive attempt to get the truth out.”
The hearing, which examined Russia’s efforts to spread disinformation, both domestically and abroad, was chaired by Acting Chairman Cory Gardner (R-CO). Co-Chair Chris Smith (R-NJ), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) were among the Commission Members who attended.
In addition to BBG CEO Lansing, the committee heard testimony from Melissa Hooper, Director of Human Rights and Civil Society Programs at Human Rights First and Molly McKew, CEO of Fianna Strategies.
A recording of today’s hearing is available on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s website—note that the hearing begins six minutes and 22 seconds (00:06:22) into the video.
CEO Lansing’s written testimony is available here.
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