Russia Today Reporter Quits, Cites Network’s Pro-Putin Bias
Russia Today London correspondent Sara Firth announced on Twitter Friday that she had resigned from the state-funded network, following fellow RT reporter Liz Wahl’s on-air resignation in March.
Citing a pro-Vladimir Putin and pro-Russian government bias in the network's coverage of the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine that resulted in the deaths of 295 passengers, Firth tweeted, “I resigned from RT today. I have huge respect for many in the team, but I'm for the truth.” She followed up shortly afterward with another tweet “RT style guide Rule 1: It is ALWAYS *Ukraine's fault (*add name as applicable).”
Among the passengers killed in the missile attack on the Malaysian Airlines jet were approximately 100 AIDS researchers flying to a conference on AIDS research in Melbourne, Australia.
Speaking to the U.K.’s Press Gazette later that day, Firth said. “Yesterday when the story broke you get the kick in your stomach when you’re going to get the facts and it’s this huge story,” and continued, “And I walked into the newsroom, and they were running an eyewitness account of God knows who the person was, blaming the Ukrainian government, and it is such a volatile situation.” Most other media reports say it's more likely that pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine launched the missile.
President Putin has come in for much criticism worldwide because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine as well as for his nation's antigay policies, but media outlets funded by the Russian government are tasked with being supportive.
Firth told the Press Gazette that if, while working at Russia Today, she was "asked to burn the facts and not tell the truth,"she’d "be a goner."
"And so I’m gone," she said. "It's not a nice organization either."
Watch HuffPost Live's report, courtesy of The Huffington Post, and Sara Firth's post-resignation interview with CNN's Brian Stelter, courtesy of CNN, below.
I resigned from RT today. I have huge respect for many in the team, but I'm for the truth. pic.twitter.com/mZ1g0R7N0D
— Sara Firth (@Sara__Firth) July 18, 2014