As reported by Censor.NET citing The Daily Beast, a bipartisan initiative led by Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy has authorized $160 million over two years to fight propaganda state actors through a little-known interagency office housed at the State Department called the Global Engagement Center (GEC).
The bipartisan Russian sanctions legislation, proposed last month by Sens. Ben Cardin and John McCain, would expand it even further, dedicating an additional $100 million for the GEC and others to support objective Russian-language journalism, counter "fake news," and support research on the effects of information warfare.
The Global Engagement Center was initially created under the Obama administration to fight ISIS propaganda, but the Portman-Murphy measure expanded its scope to target propaganda from state actors, with Russia in mind as a primary antagonist. The measure also upped their funding 16-fold. The GEC originally had just $5 million a year for operations, according to Murphy's office.
"By directly countering false narratives and empowering local media and civil societies to defend themselves from foreign manipulation, this legislation will help support our allies and interests in this increasingly unstable world," Sen. Portman told The Daily Beast.
The grants would go to independent organizations, for example, websites like Bellingcat and StopFake.org that provide access to truthful information and counter false Russian narratives in Ukraine-would be eligible for these resources.
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