Independent Media Council calls on the Voice of America to fire Russian propagandist Knyagnitsky
The Independent Media Council (IMC) demands that Harry Knyagnitsky, who used to produce propaganda reports for Russia's NTV, be fired from the Voice of America. This is said in the statement issued by the Independent Media Council.
The IMC calls on the VOA to amend its editorial policy in such a way as to prohibit employing people involved in criminal disinformation.
Media all around the globe take example from the Voice of America. Let it be an example of maintaining high reputation standards. And not of whitewashing Russian propagandists. We call on all competent and responsible media of the civilized world to stop working with Russian media professionals whose track record includes working for the Kremlin's propaganda.
Regardless of what views and beliefs they now express, former propagandists should not be given a pass into journalism and allowed to produce media content targeting the people of the free world. We believe that one day those responsible for the crimes of Russian propaganda will be punished, but even now reputational mechanisms of responsibility for complicity in evil can and should be working," the statement reads.
The Independent Media Council noted that NTV is fully owned by the Russian state company Gazprom and has been under EU sanctions since December 2022 for "continuous and concerted actions regarding disinformation and military propaganda, legitimizing the Russian aggression."
In addition, the IMC cited the examples of Knyagnitsky's propaganda works:
- The report "'Genocide and extermination:' Donbas residents are horrified by the Ukrainian army's actions".
- Content about the alleged "coup d'état" in Ukraine and Crimea's "accession" into Russia. As well as many other talking points that Russian President Vladimir Putin relies on when justifying the war on Ukraine. The reports that Knyagnitsky filmed in 2014 are still contributing to the genocide of Ukrainians.
- A report normalizing Ukrainian children "fleeing" to Russia. As of now, the Kremlin, hiding behind this lie, has already kidnapped over 14,000 Ukrainian children.
As the IMC notes, in the end, Knyagnitsky left NTV, "but retained his views."
"As Russia was firing at and abducting Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait, Harry Knyagnitsky was speculating On RTVI that it was Ukraine that had provoked Russia, and that the sea borders are legally debatable. The reputation and credibility of the VOA will remain debatable, too, as long as Russian propagandists are working at the media's Russian service. As long as Russia's aggression is being covered by the person who helped whitewash it as a "civil war". As long as the man who legitimized the annexation of Crimea on camera is talking about the illegal occupation of Ukraine," the statement said.
As IMI reported, on February 21 and 22 the Kyiv Post and "Detector Media" reported that a former correspondent for the Russian propaganda channel NTV, has been working at the Russian service of "Voice of America" since at least November 2022. He used to film propaganda reports about Russia's war on Ukraine; both media outlet included examples of such reports in their articles.
On February 22, the Ukrainian association Media Movement called on the management of the "Voice of America" to fire Harry Knyagnitsky. The Media Movement gave examples of his reports which show that Knyagnitsky used to be personally involved in propaganda, filming content about the Russo-Ukrainian war.
On February 23, VOA spokesperson Nigel Gibbs said that Harry Knyagnitsky worked under the news agency's strict editorial supervision.
On February 24, the VOA gave the Russian service's employees Harry Knyagnitsky and Daria Davydova some time off work following the accusations regarding their work for Russian propaganda.
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