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News 27 Oct 14

‘Russia Today’ News Service Opens in Serbia

Moscow’s international news agency Russia Today is opening 29 new offices abroad, including one in Serbia, with a promise to promote the Kremlin’s news perspective.

Margarita Simonyan serves as the editor-in-chief of both RT and news agency Russia Today. | Photo by Presidential Press and Information Office/Wikimedia

Russia Today (Rossiya Segodnya) announced on Monday that Belgrade would be one of its new offices opening around the world, running local-language websites and, as of spring 2015, radio stations.

Ljubinka Milincic, a former Moscow correspondent for the NIN weekly and Politika daily newspaper, will head the Belgrade office that she said plans to employ 30 people.

Milincic told news agency Beta that the Serbian website will report on events in the country with a Russian foreign policy perspective.

“There is a need for Russia's perspective here, because Western media have been operating in our country for over 20 years,” Milincic said.

“There are almost no Serbian media outlets in Serbia and it will be very good to hear Russia's say, too; Russia's view on a particular situation," she explained.

Unconfirmed media reports say that Russia Today is also to open an office in Romania on November 1.

A website called russiatoday.ro was officially registered by journalist Dan Musetoiu, the former editor of a business-oriented TV channel in Bucharest.

Musetoiu, who is also the founder of a Facebook page called RT.ro, was not available for comment.

It is not yet clear whether RT will open offices in any other Balkan countries.

The Russia Today news agency was created after a decree issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2013.

It was set up to replace the country's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti and the Kremlin's international radio service Voice of Russia.

According to the presidential decree, the mandate of the new agency was to “to provide information on Russian state policy and Russian life and society for audiences abroad”.

RIA Novosti stated at the time that "the move is the latest in a series of shifts in Russia's news landscape, which appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector".

Although Russian news channel RT was also formerly known as Russia Today, the news agency stated that it is “in no way related” to the news channel.

However Margarita Simonyan serves as the editor-in-chief of both RT and news agency Russia Today.

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