Who Is Watching Russian State-Run TV Networks Now?

Around 70% of the Russian population believes Putin is doing the right thing, according to the Moscow-based Levada Center, an independent pollster in Russia. This is largely thanks to how traditional state-run TV media in Russia is portraying that message.

Many of these TV viewers are older and poorer Russian citizens who have few options or desire to find other news media platforms, according to U.S.-based analysts of Russia.

This comes as no surprise where Russian state TV networks have broadcast video footage and news content that, according to reports, portrays much less violence and destruction than is actually occurring in the Ukraine.

Instead, those networks are showing Russian military advances, according to The Intercept. At the same time, state television has aired content segments from Fox News Channel's "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Carlson has praised President Vladimir Putin.

What about the other 30% of Russians? Many are likely to be younger and more well-off citizens who continue to find other ways to digitally access more factual, truth-based news. 



Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has instituted strict guidelines as to what news can be broadcast by any network in Russia. Before this -- and for some time -- Russia had allowed independent, Russian-based networks to air more fact-based versions of the news. With regard to digital media, Russia has restricted access to the likes of Meta-owned Facebook (blocked on March 4) and there is limited access to Twitter.

TV Watch spoke to teenage Russian students in Los Angeles last week who said that despite the Russian restrictions on news, there are still ways to find out what is really going on in the country -- primarily through VPNs (virtual private networks).

VPNs can allow users to access some of the websites and services that are blocked or restricted.

Younger media consumers globally have always had greater resources and ability to seek restricted alternative news sources. But this capability is not limited to this specific demographic.

Wealthier Russian citizens are also more likely to do this -- and some have left the country. And all those even wealthier Russian Oligarchs? They are ahead of the curve here. For years, they have had homes in many territories outside of Russia. That said, sanctions may put the kibosh on big, shiny personal possessions.

Certainly, if Russia -- or any country -- wanted to stifle and steer the media 20 years ago, it was an easier task. Now, with 24/7 coverage from global TV networks, that becomes much more challenging. Global digital media networks now -- including social media platforms -- even amidst all the controversy around the accuracy of news content -- are making news available to more people worldwide.

But many issues arise. Some social media platforms have had to delete messaging and accounts due to posts by users who sent around video of previous Russian attacks -- especially some footage of similar destruction of Chechnya in February 2000 -- portraying it as what is happening in the Ukraine now.

So, when it comes to news that can be trusted, can we take some bad (false news) with hopefully much more good (the facts? The bottom line is that it means more work for all of us to get to the truth.

3 comments about "Who Is Watching Russian State-Run TV Networks Now?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 15, 2022 at 1:27 p.m.

    Wayne, as I recall, a majority of Americans supported our entry into the Viet Nam War at the outset and the same was true for the more recent Iraq invasion--- to rid that country of its non-existant weapons of mass destruction. But once these wars dragged on and on, without a clear outcome or signs of  success, the public's mood changed. Many who had suppported our efforts began to ask questions that couldn't be answered and, eventually, a counter reaction set in---not for everyone---but for many citizens. But now we live in an instant news environment and everything has speeded up in terms of swaying the public's attitudes as it's very difficult---even in a police state like Russia---to keep the truth secret. I suspect that if the Ukrainians keep up their heroic fight for a few more weeks---not years---that many Russians who fall for the Kremlin's lies now, will change their minds---and then what, Mr Putin, "you "genius"?

  2. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development replied, March 15, 2022 at 3:08 p.m.

    Ed, as used to be said on the Lower East Side, "From your lips to God's ear..."

  3. Michael Giuseffi from American Media Inc, March 15, 2022 at 4:06 p.m.

    If God had ears then Mr. Putin would retire to Mar-a-Lago and commiserate with the other failed autocrat about how many things were stolen from them. 

Next story loading loading..