The BBC’s Disinformation Team can reveal that a UK-registered media company is spreading Russian state disinformation to millions of people in the Arab-speaking world.
Yala News claims to offer impartial news, but BBC analysis has shown most of its content directly mirrors stories on Russian state-backed media sites – and that it actually operates out of Syria.
Yala Group, the parent company of Yala News, has a strong social presence. It’s 20 or so Facebook pages are glossy and well-produced. Slick videos are uploaded every couple of hours, focusing on stories likely to be of interest to its three million Arabic-speaking followers: celebrity interviews, comedy sketches, and global politics.
The reviews on Yala News state its impartial, independent credentials. But look closely and there’s a theme: stories with a distinctly pro-Russian angle, many virtually identical to those seen on Russian state media the same day.
Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its posts began to gain traction. [Continue reading…]