RT America is an American pay live stream news TV channel built in Washington, D.C. which is part of the RT network, a universal multilingual television news network based in Moscow, Russia, sponsored by the Russian government. RT America also provides live streaming TV online free for its viewers. The channel is listed as a “foreign agent” with the United States Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). A 2017 report by the United States Intelligence Community categorized RT as “The Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet” and said that RT America had been established as self-governing nonprofit organization to avoid FARA’s registration requirement. RT’s parent company, TV-Novosti, is a Russian state-owned organization; “it is almost completely sponsored by the state budget, with the exact figure ranging annually between 99.5% and 99.9%. The channel was introduced in February 2010 as RT was looking to increase its reach.
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It was launched along with Rusiya Al-Yaum in 2007, the Spanish language channel RT Actualidad in 2009, and the RT Textual channel in 2011. During its initial years, RT America “provided a platform for several marginal or simply false narratives in American public discourse,” with guests on the network promoting scheme theory that 9/11 was composed by the CIA or the conspiracy theory that the death of Osama bin Laden had been falsified. The U.S. intelligence services in investigating assumed Russian meddling in the U.S. elections (as did the Obama Administration) have “high confidence” RT was involved in an operation ordered by Vladimir Putin. The New York Times, described their discoveries indicating that “the attack was carried out through the targeted use of real information, some open and some hacked, and the making of false reports, or ‘fake news,’ broadcast on state-funded news media like RT and its sibling. On November 13, 2017, the United States Department of Justice contended that RT America register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). On the same day, RT’s editor in chief, Margarita Simonyan, said that it would conform with the demand in order to avoid further legal action by the U.S. government, and listed the company as a foreign agent. Under FARA, RT is required to release financial information.