Russia beams new satellite channel into Baltics

  • 2007-06-08
  • From wire reports
Further expanding Russia's information influence in the Baltic region, the Russian national news channel Russia Today, under an agreement with Swedish satellite company SES Sirius, began broadcasting an English-language TV channel Baltic and Nordic states on May 31. The programs are not coded and are available using a satellite antenna.

The 24-hour news channel was started by Russian Culture and Mass Communication Ministry in 2005. Representatives of the ministry have said that the goal of the channel is to inform foreign people "about positive changes in Russia."

Currently several Russian channels are available the Baltics including those specially adapted for the region. Until now, all of them have been broadcasting in Russian.

The move has raised further concern about the strengthening of Russia's voice in the region. A survey entitled "Lithuanian Nation: Analysis of Condition and Development Prospects" warned of the cultural expansion of Russia into Lithuania's public space and the poor resistance of the society to information manipulation.

In Estonia, the issue was brought to a head in April when riots broke out over the relocation of the Bronze Soldier monument. The anger of Russian-speaking residents over the issue was in part fueled by inaccurate information broadcast on Kremlin-controlled Russian news channels. Estonia is now considering starting its own Russian-language TV channel, ETV 2.