In October 2016, British Conservative Analytical Center Henry Jackson Society (HJS) published a report on the third-party propaganda, in which they labeled all politicians and experts interviewed by Russia’s state-financed media outlets as Putin’s “useful idiots.”
The report’s author, Andrew Foxall, believes that people who contact such media as Sputnik or RT are adherents of the Russian President. His basic idea is that all their performances are paid for by the Kremlin.
Foxall argues that a similar practice existed during the Cold War and thus all experts and politicians contacting Russian state media should be “pointed out” and their credibility should be “challenged via political debates.”
According to British MP and member of the Scottish National Party Paul Monaghan, the report is an attempt to prevent people from expressing an alternative opinion, a move that does not correspond to EU’s democratic principles.
Monaghan said that he discussed his appearance at RT with his colleagues and didn’t receive any negative feedback. The politician also noted he had never been paid by RT or any other media outlets for the participation in interviews.
“Voters often tell me they appreciate the quality of news coverage on the channel. I don’t think anyone really believes that politicians appearing on RT are apologists of the government or the Russian President. It has a relatively unbiased coverage and offers a point of view alternative to our leading media such as BBC,” Monaghan told RT.
Among other things, the report suggests that “parliaments across Europe should amend current legislation or pass new legislation that forces politicians to declare all media appearances they make, whether they receive money for them or not.”
The document is to be discussed in the European Parliament any time soon.