The Russia Foreign Ministry has launched a new feature on its website to flag news stories it considers to be fake.
The new section of the site, first exhibited on Wednesday, showcases screenshots of five media reports from publications including the New York Times, Bloomberg and NBC News. Stamped across each image is a large, red “FAKE” imprint with a statement below reading, “This article puts forward information that does not correspond to reality.” There is no further information or evidence provided to back up such a claim, just a link to the original publisher’s story.
The Times, Bloomberg and NBC News are not fake news.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, announced the initiative during a nationally televised briefing, The Times reports. “We will publish examples of propaganda hoaxes from various media outlets and give links to sources,” she said. “The aim is to demonstrate the main trends in fake news publications about our country and do everything to stop their dissemination.” She added that any stories that do not include a Russian reaction or position on a report will be deemed fake, as will any articles that cite unnamed or unverified sources.
Russia has been on the defensive following widespread reporting from Western media outlets about the Kremlin’s use of cyberattacks to meddle in the U.S. presidential election and circulate fictitious media reports.
The Times, one of the Foreign Ministry’s targets on Wednesday, addressed the campaign to discredit its reporting.
“It’s a dangerous and troubling situation for governments or individuals to simply assign the label of fake news to a story they don’t like, instead of challenging specific facts or offering counter evidence,” said Eileen Murphy, a spokesperson. “We stand by our reporting.”