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DirecTV Drops Kremlin-Backed RT America ‘Effective Immediately’

The satellite broadcaster is ”accelerating this year’s contract expiration“ for RT America

DirecTV is dropping Russian state media channel RT America, a direct response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

“In line with our previous agreement with RT America, we are accelerating this year’s contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately,” DirecTV said in a statement to TheWrap.

A spokesperson for DirecTV added that it had already been reviewing other programmers in its lineup whose contracts were up for expiration this year and were assessing the value of RT America specifically. But the spokesperson says in light of the “devastating recent events in Ukraine,” the company felt it necessary to move the timeline to end RT America’s contract up from mid-year.

DirecTV and other U.S. broadcasters have been under pressure to boot Russian state media from distribution. Also Tuesday, the National Association of Television Program Executives announced that Russian TV companies will be banned from NATPE’s international sales market in Budapest coming up in June.

“The Ukrainian people have our full support over the barbaric and horrific invasion of their homeland by the brutal dictator Putin and his surrogates,” NATPE said in a statement to TheWrap. “We wish we could provide more tangible assistance, but what we can do is join the world community and prevent Russian presence from conducting commerce … We pray for the Ukrainian people and hope they continue their battle to an ultimate victory for their great, independent country.”

The National Association of Broadcasters also called on U.S. companies Tuesday to “cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents.” And in Europe, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, is urging companies to follow the lead of Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other companies in banning Russian state-owned media.

All of these are among the many moves made by media companies and Hollywood to respond to the Ukrainian invasion, in which numerous film studios have pulled blockbuster films from release in the country, and film festivals like Cannes have vowed to not welcome Russian delegates until the violence ends.

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