Russian state broadcaster RT is set to launch a French-language channel, seven months after being labelled a spreader of “deceitful propaganda” by President Emmanuel Macron. RT (formerly Russia Today) already has a foothold in France through a French-language website and a popular YouTube channel with videos dubbed or subtitled in French, some of which have chalked up hundreds of thousands of views. The launch of a TV network will see its staff of 50 journalists working from a new studio in western Paris compete in the highly competitive rolling-news sector in France.
“Fingers crossed we’ll go on air tonight,” Xenia Fedorova, RT’s station manager and editor in chief, told journalists. But with the channel having been accused of meddling in the US election along with state news agency Sputnik and spreading rumours about Macron during this year’s presidential election, French regulators are on their guard. The head of France’s CSA broadcasting authority, Olivier Schrameck, has warned that body will be watching RT’s every step and will intervene quickly in the event of any “anomalies”.