Russia Today presenter - 'What Russia did is wrong'
PR dla Zagranicy
Abby Martin, a presenter at state-backed Russia Today television, went off message on her programme on Monday when she declared "what Russia did is wrong" in Crimea.
Abby Martin: photo - CC
Speaking at the end of her show on RT - a channel which has been widely criticised for its coverage of international affairs, including the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, as being heavily biased towards the Kremlin's view of events - Abby Martin said she "wanted to say something from my heart about the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine and Russia's military occupation of Crimea."
"What Russia did is wrong. Just because I work here, for RT, doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence and I can't stress enough how strongly I am against any military intervention in sovereign nations' affairs," she said from Washington where the show is broadcast from.
She said that media coverage "from all sides" has been "disappointing [...] and rife with misinformation".
On her Twitter feed on 2 March, Martin said: "My ideology is staunchly anti military intervention no matter what the state, so my reporting won't waver in reflecting that".
Russia Today released a statement after video (see below) of Martin's outburst went viral on the internet.
"Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn’t beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air. This is the case with Abby’s commentary on the Ukraine," the statement says, before adding that they will be "sending her to Crimea" so she can make up her own mind about the situation.
One critic of Russia Today's reporting is Poland's foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who tweeted about its coverage of the Ukraine crisis on Monday: "RToday setting new standards in disgusting propaganda".
CNN civil war
Meanwhile, CNN senior journalist Christiane Amanpour had an on-air argument with presenter Wolf Blitzer on Sunday when he repeated a quote from the Russian ambassador to the UN saying that Ukrainians who brought down the Viktor Yanukovych regime were "anti-Semites and fascists".
A clearly irritated Christiane Amanpour said: "You have got to be really careful putting that across as a fact [...] are you saying the entire pro-European Ukrainians are anti-Semites?"
See the CNN clip here.
Abby Martin goes off message at Russia Today