Report: Russia-backed RT America to cease production

The U.S. arm of Russian state-backed media outlet RT will be effectively shutting down, CNN reported, citing a memo from the production company behind RT America.

CNN said that the general manager of the Washington-based production company, T&R Productions, Misha Solodovnikov, said in a note to employees that it would be ceasing production because of “unforeseen business interruption events.” He said most employees will be permanently laid off.

Attempts to get comment from Solodovnikov and RT were unsuccessful.

RT America has been steadily sidelined in the U.S. Satellite TV company DirecTV pulled the channel on March 1, ahead of a contract that was going to expire later this year. Dish, which also carried the network, did not reply to questions. Other major cable companies had removed it several years ago.

RT America’s YouTube channel, where it has 1.2 million subscribers, remains live.

The Justice Department in 2017 required RT’s U.S. operations to r egister as a foreign agent, which angered Russian leaders. U.S. intelligence agencies have said that RT acted as propaganda for the Kremlin. Doing so did not restrict the channel’s content but meant it had to disclose its funding and label its content.