Reporters and anchors in a television news studio set.
Current Time America main anchor Roman Mamonov, left, and news anchor Ihar Tsikhanenko, right, prepare for a broadcast in the offices of Voice of America in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Early success demonstrates continued need for unbiased news in Russia

This month we marked one year since we officially launched Current Time (CT).

The 24/7 Russian-language digital network, led by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in cooperation with Voice of America, is bringing highly sought-after real news to Russian-speaking audiences around the globe.

I want to congratulate everyone involved with CT on the amazing growth we have seen this year. Demand for the network is growing; it is now seen in nearly 30 countries—including Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, the Baltics and in Central Asia—on 77 cable and satellite networks and 47 affiliate stations.

I’m proud to say it is meeting the needs of Russian-speaking audiences looking for an alternative to Kremlin-controlled disinformation and propaganda. Despite continued restrictions on Russian airwaves, millions of people are seeking out its content through other means. Its innovative social media videos, for example, were viewed more than 400 million times in 2017, and almost half of those coming from within Russia.

This network is a signature accomplishment of U.S. international media and is rapidly becoming the model for future collaborative efforts among its five networks.

On behalf of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, I congratulate the dedicated and talented staff of RFE/RL and VOA who have worked so hard to make Current Time a reality and a success.  I am proud of CT and look forward to its continued growth.