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The African continent in the sights of the Russian channel RT

“I don’t know much about war. But I can tell you that I feel that it is our Ukraine that is bombing civilians. » This disturbing testimony, collected from a woman presented as having managed to flee Mariupol, a city located in southern Ukraine, appeared on Wednesday March 23 on the Twitter account of the Russian Embassy in France. Devoid of any commentary, edited from images credited to the Russian Ministry of Defense, it was stamped RT France.

Even banned from broadcasting in the European Union (EU) since March 2, in the same way as the Sputnik platform, the Russian news channel in French continues to be accessible to those who circumvent the sanction by using a VPN (virtual private network). It is also in most French-speaking African countries, where the Russian state media should confirm its anchoring.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “Russia Today (RT), an influential media in the service of the Russian state”: TV that came from the cold

From January 25, well before the European sanction fell, the media accused of broadcasting “war propaganda” had filed several Internet domain names indicative of its development projects: Rt-afrique.com, Africa-rt.com, Rtafrica.media, Rtafrique.online, etc. ” There are (…) 300 million French speakers in the world, and nearly 60% of them are in Africa”justified, in March 2019, Xenia Fedorova, the president of RT France, to Young Africa.

In addition to the fact that the channel had set up a regional correspondent in Tunis, the “Africonnect” program, launched in September 2021, already aimed to strengthen the coverage of African news for this potential audience pool. In recent weeks, a plan to set up an editorial office in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, has also appeared to take shape, with the channel seeking to recruit journalists, editors, presenters, social media professionals and freelancers in this city open to media and digital industries.

Available in French-speaking Africa

“People who want to challenge conventional wisdom on the continent and are keen to show it to the world from new angles are welcome”, indicates a job offer published on the professional network LinkedIn. A job description consistent with the editorial line of the channel, illustrated by the slogan “Dare to ask”.

Available in French-speaking Africa (in the Maghreb countries but also in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Burkina Faso), RT has not yet known “spectacular breakthroughassures Maxime Audinet, researcher in strategies of influence within the Institute for Strategic Research of the Military School (Irsem). But if they create an RT Africa channel or site, that will change”.

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