Harry Knyagnitsky used to work for the NTV channel, and Daria Davydova worked for the Public Television of Russia.
On February 24, Voice of America fired two employees who were accused of working for Russian propaganda. The details of the story were found out by the journalists of The Washington Post.
Back in November, 15 Voice of America journalists submitted a letter to the leadership of the Russian service with a request to fire Harry Knyagnitsky and Daria Davydova. Colleagues wrote that they had previously worked for the pro-Russian media, spreading disinformation and “propaganda narratives” and also “laying the groundwork” to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
In particular, TV presenter Harry Knyagnitsky used to work for the NTV and RTVI channels, while NTV is owned by the Russian state corporation Gazprom, which is under US sanctions. In a WP comment, he stated that he is not a propagandist and supports Ukraine, which is why he left RTVI last year.
“His leadership forbade me to go live with Ukrainians who talked about Russian shelling and killings on my newscast,” Kniagnitsky shared. “Voice of America gave me the opportunity to tell the truth about the war.”
Daria Davydova used to work for the Public Television of Russia, owned by the Russian government, and for the media company of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whom the US government accuses of dodging sanctions. She did not answer questions from WP.
Despite the fact that the employees of the Voice of America turned to the management back in November, as soon as Knyagnitsky and Davydova began working in the media, no action was taken until the letter was published by the Kyiv Post on February 21. On February 23, Voice of America managers spoke out in support of Russian journalists, saying that they had not found any violations either in their editorial office or in their previous places of work.
“The question is, are these people capable of doing the job we hired them to do and meet our standards of fairness and objectivity in reporting them? We think so,” one executive commented anonymously.
In an official statement, VOA spokesman Nigel Gibbs said that media management is investigating and discussing the issues to answer staff questions. Meanwhile, Harry Kniagitsky and Daria Davydova were suspended from work.
The accusation became especially dangerous for the Voice of America, which the US government founded in 1942 to combat German propaganda. The broadcasting company, and now also the Internet resource, is called upon to bring news to people in countries whose authorities subject the media to severe censorship. VOA has defended itself against suspicions of disinformation in the past.
As we wrote earlier, Harry Knyagnitsky filmed for NTV stories about the “genocide” in the Donbass. In one of the stories, he said that the Ukrainian military was pointing artillery at the signals of civilians’ mobile phones.
In early February, Russian propagandists launched a new fake about Ukraine. A photo of a chocolate bar with a wrapper with the inscription “Alyoshka’s death” appeared on the network, which was allegedly produced in Ukraine. Among Ukrainians, few people know the story of the boy Alyosha from the Vologda Oblast, who in March 2022 ran in a headset and greeted Russian armored vehicles moving towards Ukraine.
Leave a Reply