A news anchor for Moscow's English-speaking television network spoke out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in a move of journalistic bravery Monday night.
Russia Today (RT) anchor Abby Martin spoke into the camera during her broadcast just seconds before cutting to commercial and said that she needed to express something "from her heart."
"What Russia did is wrong," Martin said. "I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression."
Martin condemned Russia for what she called a "terrible situation" and said she would "keep telling the truth as I see it" if that's what it takes to "prevent a full-blown cold war."
"Just because I work here, for RT, doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence," she said. "I can't stress enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation's affairs."
Glenn Greenwald, who reported on Martin's segment Monday morning, pointed out the rarity of this type of journalistic independence, even in the United States:
"Was there even a single US television host who said anything comparable to this in the lead-up to, or the early stages of, the US invasion of Iraq?
When that sort of commentary and reporting appears frequently on major American television outlets, American celebration of its own “free press” can be taken seriously. Or, put another way, until hosts of major U.S. television programs do what Abby Martin just did on RT in connection with a major American military intervention, American commentators’ self-justifying mockery of Russian media outlets will continue to be as persuasive as the condemnation of Russian imperialism and aggression from the David Frums of the world."
Watch the video for Martin's full speech on RT.
UPDATE (11:50 AM): Russia Today has responded with the following statement:
"Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn’t beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air. This is the case with Abby’s commentary on the Ukraine.
We respect her views, and the views of all our journalists, presenters and program hosts, and there will be absolutely no reprimands made against Ms. Martin.
In her comment Ms. Martin also noted that she does not possess a deep knowledge of reality of the situation in Crimea. As such we’ll be sending her to Crimea to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story."
UPDATE (4:56 PM): Abby Martin stated in a tweet that she will not be going to Crimea.
Hi @Josiensor, thanks for your article. But I am not going to Crimea despite the statement RT has made. Please update accordingly.
— Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) March 4, 2014
(h/t: The Intercept)