Russian Newspapers Warn Readers of 'Lies' on State Channel NTV

More than 100 regional newspapers across Russia are to print reader warnings against “false news” on state-run federal channel NTV, Russian television channel Dozhd reported Tuesday.

Valery Bezpyatykh, head of the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers (AIRP), told the channel that the warnings begin on June 8. Many of the newspapers taking part are members of AIRP, an organization which describes its work as “developing [the regional press] as a necessary institution of civil society.”

The newspapers will print warnings next to NTV’s logo in their TV Guide sections. The disclaimers will tell readers that the channel spreads “distorted information or propaganda under the guise of journalistic materials,” Dozhd reported.

The move follows a program aired by NTV in March which claimed that the U.S. State Department has been secretly funding regional opposition media outlets, Bezpyatykh told Dozhd.

One of the regional papers implicated in the program, the Yakutsk Vecherny newspaper based in the eastern region of Sakha, printed a similar warning against the station in late May.

NTV has previously come under fire for alleged distorted reporting. Russian opposition deputy Dmitry Gudkov sued the channel for libel in November 2015 after they aired a report alleging that he had praised sanctions against Moscow as useful for the opposition to German embassy staff.

The channel is one of the most widely-watched in Russia, along with the Rossia 1 channel and Channel One. The majority of Russians consider television to be the most trustworthy news source, a report by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed in October 2015.

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