Missouri radio station airs Russian radio show full of propaganda
- A radio station in Missouri airs a Russian radio show full of state propaganda.
- Peter Schartel says he is exercising free speech by spreading pro-Russian content amid the invasion of Ukraine.
- The radio program, Radio Sputnik, is produced by an American division of the Russian media group Rossiya Segodnya.
A small radio station in Missouri airs a Russian radio show full of state propaganda amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Peter Schartel broadcasts the Russian program Radio Sputnik daily at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. from his station, KCXL Radio, in Liberty, Missouri.
“America is a very different country than it used to be. We were a country of freedom, jobs, opportunity and equality. Now we are a country that despises traditional values. We are a country that places its citizens second only to the citizens of other countries,” reads the radio station’s homepage.
Schartel began broadcasting Radio Sputnik in early 2020, and since then has been accused by critics of being a traitor for promoting propaganda and disinformation, according to the Associated Press.
“Some will talk to me, but others will still call me a piece of whatever,” Schartel said, according to the AP. “What I’m grateful for is that we still live in a country where they can call me. Even if they don’t think about free speech, they exercise that right.”
Schartel’s station is one of only two broadcast companies in the United States airing the program, which is produced by Rossiya Segodnya, which is operated by the Russian government, according to the AP.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, which has since claimed thousands of lives and many refugees. Russian forces appeared to have thought they would face little resistance on their two-day mission to capture the Ukrainian capital of kyiv, and they have since suffered massive casualties. The West has also imposed sanctions on Russia and Putin’s inner circle.
The National Association of Broadcasters released a statement earlier this month criticizing Schartel’s actions, calling on broadcasters to stop airing Russia-related programming.
“While we know that the broadcast of such programs is extremely limited, we believe that our nation must stand fully united against disinformation and for freedom and democracy throughout the world,” the organization said in a statement.
The NAB added that despite its support for free speech, the First Amendment “does not preclude private actors from exercising sound moral judgment.”
On Schartel’s KCXL, the station claims that the United States is “a country which, rather than telling the truth, we hide it, for fear of being ‘offensive'”.
“At KCXL 102.9fm and 11:40 am, we bring you the truth. We tell you the things the liberal media won’t tell you. We make it our business to educate our listeners on the issues that matter. We are your station of news!” the homepage reads.