RSF to launch Svoboda Satellite Bouquet for independent journalism in Russia


In an unprecedented initiative aimed at ensuring the right to information, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the international nonprofit organisation promoting and defending a free, independent and pluralistic journalism, have announced the signing of a contract with Eutelsat, a leading global satellite operator, on November 7, 2023. 


An RSF initiative will see, in the coming weeks, the launch of the Svoboda satellite bouquet, a dedicated satellite broadcasting service aimed at providing independent news and information to Russian speaking audiences. 

Svoboda, which means "freedom" in Russian, represents a significant step forward in the quest for unrestricted access to information in a region where media freedom faces numerous challenges. The bouquet will enable Russian-speaking viewers to access a wide range of independent journalism and international news, with the aim of fostering a more informed and diverse media landscape. 

The bouquet will feature news programs to offer a comprehensive and objective view of global events. RSF will ensure the playout of the content for Svoboda, in compliance with the highest journalistic standards. Specific media and ethics committees will be set up to guarantee that the satellite package is operated according to the best standards in terms of journalism. 

Eutelsat, known for its expertise in satellite services, will provide the satellite broadcasting capabilities, ensuring that Svoboda reaches audiences.

"The Svoboda Satellite Bouquet is an ambitious initiative that intends to reverse the logic of propaganda. Instead of having flows of content under authoritarian control from Russia to the democratic countries, in order to destabilize democracies, it will allow independent media outlets to broadcast toward human beings that do not enjoy their right to information. This is not just about defending press freedom, this is about creating the concrete conditions for the circulation of free and independent news and information. Access to free and independent information is a fundamental right, and this initiative will help us efficiently reach out to audiences. We believe in the power of journalism to shape societies and promote transparency and accountability.

Christophe Deloire,
RSF secretary-general

The idea of this satellite package originated from the Denis Diderot Committee, a collective founded by media experts to promote the free flow of information without war propaganda and disinformation, which has partnered with RSF since 2022 on exposing propaganda related to the war in Ukraine.

The Denis Diderot Committee launched in March 2022 the idea of an alternative bouquet of news channels for Russian-speaking populations and contributed to the negotiation led by RSF with Eutelsat. Making a transponder available is an important step. We also welcome the efforts made by Eutelsat to implement the sanctions of the French and European authorities against warmongering propaganda channels. However, much remains to be done to prevent the satellite capacities of European satellite operators from being used by media controlled by non-democratic regimes or organizations.

André Lange,
co-founder Denis Diderot Committee
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