Ruptly

Summary

Ruptly GmbH is a Russian state-owned[2][3] video news agency specializing in video-on-demand, based in Berlin, Germany. It is a subsidiary[1] of the Russian state-controlled[17] television network RT. Ruptly owns the media channel Redfish and is the major shareholder of the digital content company Maffick.[18][19] Its chief executive is Dinara Toktosunova.[20][2] Upon Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and censorship of the media, the company faced a staff exodus.[21]

Ruptly
RUPTLY logo.svg
Formation4 April 2013; 9 years ago (2013-04-04)
HeadquartersLennéstraße 1
Berlin, Germany
Official language
English
Russian
Spanish
Arabic
OwnerRT[1]
Websiteruptly.tv

HistoryEdit

Ruptly joined the German Commercial Register as a Berlin-based GmbH in July 2012,[22] before officially launching operations on 4 April 2013.[23] It is a subsidiary[1] of the Russian state-controlled[17] TV network RT, and operates as a German commercial entity. ANO TV Novosti, an organization that is primarily funded by a Russian government grant, oversees the broadcasts of RT.[24]

In February 2014, Ruptly was one of the first agencies to use drones to capture news footage when it used them in its coverage of the civil unrest in Ukraine.[20]

In 2017, Ruptly introduced 360-degree video content, and provided the first panoramic view of Earth from the International Space Station.[20]

When it launched, Ruptly provided video news content, live video-streaming and operational support to broadcasters of varying size around the world. It serves over 1,400 clients globally, including large media groups, broadcast networks, video bloggers and online publishers; clients have included Al Jazeera, CBS, NHK, and online publishers such as LADbible.[25] It now also caters to smaller organizations with lower budgets such as Ruptly PASS.[26]

Although its focus is sourcing and selling video news content, in 2020, Ruptly announced the launch of its journalism Academy,[27] offering training and an online internship for aspiring news journalists.

In February 2021, it signed a deal with Chinese state-owned CCTV+ to open up access to China news coverage.[28] In May 2021, it won a Shorty Award for Best Live Event Coverage, for its footage from the impact and aftermath of the 2020 Beirut port blast.[29][non-primary source needed]

Ruptly employees, including multiple staff members in senior positions, resigned in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, after the Russian government restricted news outlets from describing the military offensive as an invasion.[2][30]

Notable videosEdit

In October 2017, a Ruptly-produced viral video about an American restaurant creating a special burger to celebrate Vladimir Putin's birthday turned out to be fabricated.[31] Ruptly removed the video from its YouTube channel and stated that its employees and not the restaurant were involved in the creation of the video, "which, unfortunately, compromised the reliability of the video. We are grateful to our audience for drawing attention to the discrepancy in our story".[32][33]

On 27 November 2018, Polygraph.info alleged that Ruptly published a misleadingly edited video of an altercation between Ukrainian and Russian ships during the Kerch Strait incident in which a Ukrainian tugboat was rammed by a Russian Coast Guard vessel. Polygraph later updated the story to advise that Ruptly had contacted it to say Ruptly "acquired and published without editing" a short version of the ramming video which it had received on 25 November 2018 and that it published the full version, "as soon as" it was able to obtain it. Polygraph confirmed that Ruptly did publish the full version of the video on 26 November but that the full version was published by other Russian media on 25 November. In its update, Polygraph stated that it had "no means to independently confirm that Ruptly.tv did not edit the first, shorter version, of the video".[34]

In April 2019, Ruptly provided exclusive video coverage of Julian Assange being forcibly removed from the Embassy of Ecuador, London. Ruptly obtained the footage by videoing the embassy using a crew of five working in shifts 24 hours per day for the week leading up to Assange's arrest. Ruptly's twitter video of the arrest achieved 1.7 million views within a day.[10][35]

During 2018 and 2019, Ruptly provided live coverage from France of the yellow vest protests.[36][37][38][39]

In August 2020, The New York Times reported that a Ruptly video of Black Lives Matter protesters apparently burning a bible in Portland, Oregon, edited in a misleading way, "went viral" after it being shared with an inaccurate caption on social media by a far-right personality and then conservative politicians. The Times said the clip "appear[ed] to be one of the first viral Russian disinformation hits of the 2020 presidential campaign”.[40][41][42][43] An NBC report in the wake of this incident found that Ruptly edited user-generated protest videos to highlight violence over peaceful protest.[43]

Ruptly's most popular video on social media in 2020 was exclusive footage of the 2020 Beirut explosion. The video, which was taken during a wedding, had 4.9 million viewers on YouTube.[44]

OrganizationEdit

Ruptly has a team of 80 journalists from 42 countries at its Berlin newsroom, and has offices in Moscow and Beijing. It engages a global network of around 3,000 freelance video journalists, or stringers, to capture on-demand content at the scene of events.[45] Ruptly takes user-generated content (UGC) via social media and its Ruptly Stringer app.[45]

During the economic crisis in December 2008, the Russian government included ANO TV-Novosti on its list of core organizations of strategic importance of Russia.[46][47][48] Ruptly has stated it was founded by ANO TV-Novosti "to act as an independent, commercially-funded organisation under German law", that its editorial and operational decisions are "completely independent" and the claim it is run by the Russian government is "factually false".[49]

Ruptly's organization also includes the Berlin-based subsidiary Redfish.[18][50] According to the Alliance For Securing Democracy and UK journalist Paul Mason, Redfish is aimed at the political left and African Americans.[51][52]

Until it closed in 2021,[53] Maffick GmbH was also based in Berlin and registered to the same address as Ruptly, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, with the same address shared by Redfish.[54]

Maffick had been founded by ex-RT journalist Anissa Naouai. In February 2019, Maffick's Facebook page began to mention its connection to RT and Ruptly.[55] Maffick denied any connection to Ruptly and in July 2020 filed a lawsuit against Facebook after the website labelled its pages as "Russia state-controlled media", which Maffick claim is a "false notice".[56]

Products and servicesEdit

 
A Ruptly satellite reporting set up at the protests in Donetsk

Ruptly operates as a B2B news agency with three core areas: video news content, live video streaming, and operational support.

It has four dedicated platforms serving audiences in their native languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian.[57]

The Ruptly agency broadcasts live via a platform that supports simultaneous streaming of up to five events, and allows TV stations and online media to receive and broadcast in real time.[58]

In July 2021, it had 112,000 followers on Twitter and 1.94 million subscribers on YouTube where its videos reached up to 3 million views.[43]

AssessmentEdit

Ruptly is one of several Russian media organizations that has been accused by the US government and others of attempting to influence elections through social media.[59] These sources say that Ruptly targets a younger left-leaning demographic through its video promotion on social media.[43] NBC has reported that Ruptly is a platform for sophisticated English-language video and text content that experts say is edited and curated to exacerbate American political tensions, with a particular focus being younger viewers and the political left.[43]

Other sources, such as The New York Times and Paul Mason, have accused Ruptly of pandering to far-right extremists.[60][52]

According to a 2014 opinion article by four staff editors for the German news publication Spiegel Online, "With the help of news services like RT and Ruptly, the Kremlin is seeking to reshape the way the world thinks about Russia. And it has been highly successful: Vladimir Putin has won the propaganda war over Ukraine and the West is divided." The writers stated that only the BBC had more clips viewed on YouTube.[61]

In 2014, British vlogger Graham Phillips was banned from Ukraine.[62][63] In 2015, StopFake published an article in which it said Phillips had worked for Ruptly among other Russian state platforms to produce Pro-Kremlin propaganda and had links to the Russian FSB intelligence agency.[64]

In 2019, Ruptly was criticised by browser extension NewsGuard:

Although Ruptly has published straightforward content from around the world, its videos and headlines of topics of interest to the Kremlin have repeatedly featured false or misleading statements from Russian government officials, including denials that Syria was behind chemical weapons attacks of its own citizens. Although the footage accurately quotes Russian authorities, NewsGuard has determined that Ruptly, as a government run outlet publishing the government’s false claims, has repeatedly published false content and does not gather and present information responsibly.

Ruptly responded that "As a video news agency providing content to journalists, our role is to present raw footage that our clients ensure their journalists edit and use responsibly." Ruptly said the claim it was run by the Russian government was "factually false": "Ruptly was founded by ANO TV Novosti to act as an independent, commercially-funded organisation under German law, and sister agency to RT. It has commercial relations with all its clients including RT." It noted that videos on its platform contain criticism of the Kremlin, including anti-Putin demonstrations in Russia and around the world, protests outside the Russian embassy in Berlin and global demonstrations in support of opposition activist leader Alexei Navalny.[49]

Statistics from Tubular Labs show Ruptly was the most-watched news agency on YouTube in 2020, topping Yonhap, Associated Press, Reuters, Xinhua and AFP.[44]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Organization Year Category/award Project/service Result Ref.
Webby Awards 2020 Best Data Visualisation Dyatlov Group's Journal Honoree [65]
AIB Awards 2020 News Agency of the Year Shortlisted

[66][better source needed]

White Square Awards[1] 2020 Interactive Brand Content Dyatlov Group's Journal Gold [67]
Shorty Awards 2020 Best Multiplatform Campaign Dyatlov Group's Journal Won [68]
Shorty Awards 2020 Best Use of Storytelling Dyatlov Group's Journal Won [69]
Shorty Awards 2019 Best Live News Coverage Yellow Vests live streams Won [70]
Digiday Awards Europe 2019 Best Use of Live Ruptly Live Won [71]
Digiday Awards Europe 2019 Video Team of the Year Finalist [72]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]
  2. ^ a b c Escritt, Thomas (28 February 2022). "Exclusive: Russian news agency in Berlin faces staff exodus over Ukraine invasion". Reuters. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
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  4. ^ Sloss, David L. (12 April 2022). Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Information Warfare. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-1-5036-3115-1. Retrieved 3 March 2022 – via Google Books. Ruptly, a subsidiary of RT that specializes in video, has 230,000 likes on Facebook, 52,000 Twitter followers, and 304,000 YouTube subscribers in the UK.
  5. ^ Chobanyan, Karina (2020). Vartanova, Elena; Gladkova, Anna (eds.). "Up for a challenge? Digital practices of 24-hour news channels" (PDF). World of Media. Moscow State University (3): 50. ISSN 2686-8016. Retrieved 3 March 2022. RT, which owns Ruptly news agency, likes to post its raw footage of world events.
  6. ^ Cohen, Howard (May 2018). "Tech Tock...: Time is Running Out to Find Solutions to Mis- and Disinformation and Privacy Problems". Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Harvard University: Harvard Kennedy School: 17–18. Retrieved 3 March 2022. Ruptly is a news agency created by Russian funded news channel RT in 2013 to rival Reuters and AP. [...] Finally, it is very transparent about following the same agenda as RT: "Ruptly builds on and extends the core strengths and values of our parent company RT."
  7. ^ "Russia Uses State Television to Sway Opinion at Home and Abroad". Der Spiegel. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2021. Moscow is looking beyond the short-term, seeking to influence opinion in the long-run to create "an alternative discourse in Western countries as well," says Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of Kremlin foreign broadcaster RT, formerly known as Russia Today, which owns Ruptly.
  8. ^ "В Минске задержаны двое стрингеров видеоагентства Ruptly" [Two stringers of video agency Ruptly detained in Minsk]. Interfax (in Russian). 9 August 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2021. Двух стрингеров видеоагентства Ruptly задержали в Минске, сообщил владелец сервиса, телеканал RT. [Two stringers of the Ruptly video agency were detained in Minsk, the owner of the service, RT TV channel, said.]
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  62. ^ Smith, Sonia (21 March 2018). "War of Words: Meet the Texan Trolling for Putin". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2 March 2022. [Russell] Bentley [a vlogger originally hosted by Ruptly]... is a new kind of soldier in the information war, a freelancer who has garnered a loyal following precisely because he claims to be independent from state or corporate control. In truth, of course, he often echoes the talking points spun out by Russian news sources. And in that respect, he is part of an emerging crop of self-styled information warriors loyal to authoritarian regimes. “There are more of these actors cropping up in conflict zones around the world,” said Tanya Lokot, an assistant professor at Dublin City University’s School of Communications who studies how digital media has been used on both sides of the Ukrainian conflict. These actors include... Graham Phillips, a YouTube vlogger who moved to Donetsk after a stint in Kiev. Though their reach may be limited compared with the likes of Russian state media, the conspiracy theories they promote tend to ricochet around the web, making the leap from alternative media websites to Russian television, and after gaining traction on social media, burbling up to the mainstream. As a result, parsing the truth has become more elusive than ever.
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Further readingEdit

  • Gilbert, David (4 March 2022). "Millions of Leftists Are Reposting Kremlin Misinformation by Mistake". VICE. Retrieved 7 March 2022.

External linksEdit

  • Official website  
  • Ruptly's channel on YouTube