Outspoken Russia Today Anchor Declines to Be Sent to Crimea

By Jaime Lutz

Mar 4, 2014 4:55pm
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Russia Today anchor Abby Martin speaks out against Russian military action in Ukraine during a broadcast, March 3, 2014. (Russia Today)

The Russia Today anchor who  condemned the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean region on air Monday said today that she has “declined” the station’s decision to send her to Crimea.

“I am not going to Crimea despite the statement RT has made,” Abby Martin, an American who works in Washington, wrote on Twitter.

She later told ABCNews.com in an email, “Despite what RT has said officially, I declined their offer to go to Crimea.”

Martin said on the state-owned news agency’s broadcast on Monday, “Just because I work here, for RT, doesn’t mean I don’t have editorial independence and I can’t stress enough how strongly I am against any military intervention in sovereign nations’ affairs.”

On her Facebook page, Martin was even blunter.

“First I get called a ‘Russian propagandist’ for toeing the RT line, now I am getting vitriol from people claiming I ‘sold out’ to Western imperialism because I voiced an opinion that I believe in,” she wrote earlier today. “I am against military intervention. Period.”

She also got in a Twitter war with The New York Times writer Robert Mackey, who reported that Martin frequently uses her show to talk about her belief that the 9/11 attacks were a conspiracy by the Bush administration.

Martin disputed Mackey’s comments. “Nothing I have said in the past about 9/11 has anything to do with my staunch and continuous opposition to military intervention,” she wrote.

Russia Today did not respond to repeated requests for comment by ABC News. But in a statement sent to the Huffington Post, the organization said that Martin will not be punished for her anti-interventionist stance.

“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,” the statement, sent to The Huffington Post, said.

“In her comment Ms. Martin also noted that she does not possess a deep knowledge of reality of the situation in Crimea,” the statement continued. “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.”

Despite the controversy with her news station, Martin told ABCNews.com she did not feel threatened. “I do feel secure right now,” she wrote.

 

 

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