Russia Today is hiring extra staff for its French language website, just 10 weeks before the first round of the presidential election. It also plans to launch a French-language TV station by the end of the year.
According to job advertisements seen by BuzzFeed News, the Kremlin-backed station is hiring extra French-language staff to with a requirement that they must start as soon as possible.
“What is special about this hiring process is the media company itself: it’s a controversial company which will continue being controversial over the next few months,” said an email from a recruiting agency trying to fill a job on RT’s French-language website. “Which means I need to find someone who won’t back down under pressure and will be able to endorse a controversial editorial policy. That being said, the project will be fascinating.”
The reference to controversy likely refers to the increasing worries about the role Russia will play in the French election. There have been concerns within France’s intelligence community that Russia could mimic the tactics the Obama administration claimed influenced the US elections last year.
France’s security service, the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) revealed to French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné on February 8th that they were preparing for a Russian cyber attack. According to the DGSE, Russia intends to support the candidacy of Marine Le Pen “on social networks through web robots that will generate positive messages by the thousands. Or by revealing confidential data and messages of her opponents.”
Two media companies funded by the Kremlin, Sputnik and RT , recently published recently published rumors on the “double life” of Le Pen opponent Emmanuel Macron. Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has also helped to fuel suspicion of outside influence, saying to Russian media Izvstia. “We have interesting information about another presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron.”
“RT en Français” TV channel
RT station also confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it is pressing ahead with plans to launch a fully-fledged “RT en Français” TV channel, to join its existing broadcasts in English, Spanish, and Arabic.
However, contrary to previous reports the channel says the French-language television version of RT will now only launch at the end of 2017 – well after the French presidential election.