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RT, the international news television network based in Russia and operated by the state, is planning to open a base in South Africa.

The station originally wanted to be based in Nairobi, Kenya but decided against it as they would be going up against China’s CGTN for newsroom sources.

An RT spokesperson told News24 that they are “indeed currently focused on developing our English-language Africa hub in South Africa, headed up by Paula Slier – a South Africa native, RT’s longtime correspondent and formerly head of RT’s Jerusalem bureau”.

The expansion into Africa comes amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which has led to several countries banning the Kremlin-funded news channel.

The European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom banned RT while Google and several other companies blocked the channel’s propaganda efforts on YouTube.

In South Africa, RT is distributed to DStv subscribers through MultiChoice. On 2 March RT disappeared from South African televisions and streaming devices. On 11 May, the channel managed to be broadcasted again thanks to support from the Chinese.

News24 reports that according to an insider, the RT South African newsroom is currently being set up although it’s still unclear how many South African staff, camera operators and reporters RT plans to hire as it takes a page from the playbook of what other global TV news channels like CNN International, Al Jazeera, BBC World News and China’s pro-Beijing CGTN have done in Africa.

At this stage, it’s not clear when or exactly where the South African RT newsroom will open.

Image credit: RT

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