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Russian news service applies for White House pass

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Washington:  The Russian state-owned news service Sputnik has applied for a White House pass and is seeking membership in the Foreign Press Group in order to become a part of pool rotations, a media report said.

Sputnik would be part of a rotating group of roughly 22 overseas outlets following President Donald Trump in his daily interactions along with pool reporters from American print, TV, and radio outlets.

Andrew Feinberg, Sputnik’s White House correspondent, has been in talks with the Foreign Press Group head Philip Crowther, who told Politico news that if Feinberg and Sputnik complete the boilerplate criteria for being a member of the press group, there “shouldn’t be any reason” they wouldn’t join the White House press pool.

Among the criteria to become a Foreign Press Group member is a White House-approved hard pass, membership in the White House Correspondents’ Association, and State Department verification that the network is, indeed, based in another country.

Other state-sponsored outlets are part of the rotating foreign pool, including France 24 and China’s CCTV.

Sputnik is one of Russia’s government-funded news outlets aimed at international audiences.

Launched in 2014, Sputnik has a goal of providing “alternative interpretations that are, undoubtedly, in demand around the world”, its head Dimitry Kiselyov said at the launch.

The site was formed by combining former wire services RIA Novosti and the Voice of Russia.

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