UK

MH17 Coverage From Russia Today Forces Correspondent Sara Firth To Quit

18/07/2014 13:59 BST | Updated 18/07/2014 17:59 BST

A high-profile Russia Today reporter has resigned her post at the Putin-friendly channel, slamming its response to the crash of the Malaysian Airline MH17.

Sara Firth, a foreign correspondent and multimedia reporter at the Kremlin-backed channel, did not voice her anger on air like Abby Martin did over the annexation of Crimea earlier this year. Instead, she took to Twitter, even directing her anger at her own colleagues.

Firth has been a correspondent at the channel since 2009, according to her LinkedIn page. She has also blogged for the Huffington Post.

Her first rogue tweet came as a response to challenge issued to another RT correspondent Polly Boiko, on Twitter.

A Twitter user called @Tanos asked Boiko, a London correspondent for the channel if she could "sleep at night, taking money to spread Putin's lies?"

Firth then responded to Boiko's plea of ignorance with her own revelation.

The outburst was "an exercise in honesty", Firth said.

Firth insisted her account had not been hacked.

“Yesterday when the story broke you get the kick in your stomach when you’re going to get the facts and it’s this huge story,” she told Press Gazette.

“And I walked into the newsroom and they were running an eye-witness account of God-knows who the person was blaming the Ukrainian government, and it is such a volatile situation.”

Firth had previously done a profile interview for the respected industry paper, saying "facts are my religion" and insisting the channel was not biased.

“There are a lot of conspiracy theories concerning RT but I personally have never come into contact with it and wouldn’t tolerate it," the City University graduate said.

RT correspondent Abby Martin, who became a household name overnight for her passionate monologue against the invasion of Ukraine, did not quit and was not fired from her job at RT America. But she refused the broadcaster's request that she go to Crimea to report from the scene, and learn the "facts".

In a statement to the HuffPost UK, an RT spokesperson said: "We were not surprised by Sara Firth’s decision to leave RT after 5 years as a Moscow and London correspondent, as she has recently informed us that she was likely to take an offer from another firm.

"The plane crash is an absolutely terrible tragedy, there are a lot of questions that surround it and everybody is looking for answers. More than 15 RT journalists are working on this story – from Moscow, from the Russian-Ukrainian border, London, Berlin, Washington. RT Spanish journalist Francisco Guaita was one of the first TV correspondents to get to the scene late last night. Our reporters are in the Netherlands and Malaysia. Sara was never involved in reporting on this event.

"Sara has declared that she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of truth. We believe that truth is what our reporters see on the ground, with their own eyes, and not what’s printed in the morning London newspaper. In our coverage, RT, unlike the rest of the media, did not draw conclusions before the official investigation has even begun. We show all sides of the story, even if everyone else has already decided which side is to blame."