In October 2014, RFE/RL launched Current Time, a daily Russian-language television news program produced in partnership with the Voice of America (VOA) for Russian-speaking audiences in and around Russia.
Current Time’s purpose is to provide informed and up-close coverage of major news and events that are not reported, or are misreported, by the Kremlin-affiliated media. It aims to provide a reality check on the disinformation that is driving conflict in the region. As the U.S. grapples with a set of complex challenges involving Russia, Current Time is doing its part to advance U.S. national interests by providing credible and compelling news and information to millions.
- At first a single program, Current Time is now a brand.
It broadcasts one daily edition for the strategic NATO border countries of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Latvia, and Lithuania; one edition for Central Asia; and two weekend current affairs shows. Current Time is carried by 19 affiliates; web portals in the Baltics, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine; and via mobile apps and social networks.
In 2016, Current Time has launched a 24/7 satellite stream available on the Hotbird 8 satellite, on its website currenttime.tv, via YouTube, on IPTV and SmartTV platforms, and via 27 affiliate partners who will take the stream in a variety of ways.
- Stats show that Current Time is watched by key audiences in strategic border states.
In 2015, Current Time was watched by 13.1 percent of adults in Lithuania, and 4.3 percent of adults in Latvia. In Russia, where the program can only be seen via satellite or Internet, Current Time is watched by an estimated 1.9 million adults. Its programs are driving traffic to RFE/RL’s Russian-language websites, where 266 million pages of content were viewed by almost 170 million visitors in 2015. Current Time reporting is published on RFE/RL’s Russian language Facebook pages, which registered almost 23 million engaged users last year.
- Current Time is recognized globally for quality reporting that is not available elsewhere.
Its video reports from both sides of the war in eastern Ukraine have been picked up by CNN, Reuters, AFP, and other major media. The Current Time documentary Airport Donetsk, an account of one of the epic battles in the war between Russia and Ukraine, took first prize in its category in Russia’s largest documentary film festival, ArtDocFest.
- Current Time reports journalism, not propaganda.
Its signature is compelling, credible news, told on the ground by its network of top-notch reporters and high-profile commentators, and from the front-lines in Ukraine, Syria, and wherever else the headlines are.
- Current Time is having an impact.
In an indication of the Kremlin’s irritation over Current Time’s coverage, Russian state media has featured it in at least six separate segments since May 2015, decrying it as part of a “U.S. information war” and labeling it a threat to national security.