The United States has allocated $500,000 to establish an investigative journalism training program for Russian-language journalists to counter “Russian propaganda and misinformation,” a notice posted on the State Department’s Vilnius web page states.
The program will aim to improve “investigative journalism skills across the Baltics, by tailoring training and tools to increase journalists’ ability to counter Russian media messaging and misinformation, and approach all stories with critical thinking skills and fact-based reporting,” according to the State Department.
Journalists in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will take direction from “U.S. trainers/experts/contacts” and will receive “cash reporting awards” for the work they produce.
The program will provide funding for journalists from the three countries on Russia’s periphery to visit newsrooms and journalism schools in the United States.
The effort is in response to a ramping up of Russian media after decades of anti-Soviet propaganda sponsored by Voice of America and subsequently Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, initially a project spearheaded by the CIA.
This year Russia budgeted 15.38 billion rubles ($245m) for its RT television channel and 6.48 billion rubles ($103m) for Rossiya Segodnya, the state news agency that includes Sputnik News, reports The Guardian.
ProPublica, NED, the Ford Foundation and the CIA
The model for the program is ProPublica, a newsroom funded by George Soros and the Ford Foundation.
In 2013 Cryptome published and publicized tax reports filed by ProPublica revealing the operation had received $26 million from secret donors. Founders of the “investigative journalism” operation include editors and publishers from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
In July the Russian government banned the National Endowment for Democracy, the MacArthur Foundation, the Freedom House and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations from operating in the country.
“In a multitude of ways, NED meddles in the internal affairs of foreign countries by supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, fax machines, copiers, automobiles and so on, to selected political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, etc.,” writes William Blum. “NED’s programs are in sync with the basic needs and objectives of the New World Order’s economic globalization.”
The Ford Foundation has worked closely with the CIA since the 1950s.
“From its very origins there was a close structural relation and interchange of personnel at the highest levels between the CIA and the FF,” writes James Petras .