Fake CNN website causes confusion in Russia

25th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Russian-language website that apes the livery of US network CNN and translates its news stories with glaring errors caused confusion Wednesday, with the network denying any involvement.

"We can only say that it's not our website," Maxim Tkachenko, CNN's Moscow bureau chief, told AFP. "The company is studying this issue."

"I can confirm this is not a CNN site. We are evaluating next steps," a London-based spokeswoman for CNN, Claudia Coles, said in an e-mail.

The website called Cnnrussia.ru copies CNN's red livery and links to news stories on its website. It calls itself an "unofficial site" and notes that its translations are done automatically and therefore "mistakes are possible."

"Even such an automatic translation allows us to see what concerns our colleagues at CNN," it says of the writing style, close to gobbledy-gook.

Among the apparently unintentional blunders are references to the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, using a Russian word that refers to the head of a penis.

The site had been visited more than 1,700 times on Wednesday, according to the Live Internet ranking website, and carries ads for Russian brides.

It was unclear who was behind the website, although it links to a LiveJournal page that says its owner is from Ivanovo, a town famed for its cotton mills in central Russia.

The site has a regularly updated page on Facebook, opened last year, and a Twitter account with 214 followers.

While the website does not appear to be playing for laughs, Russians have been quick to spoof official websites to comic effect.

President Dmitry Medvedev's Twitter postings are regularly followed by satirical retellings from a user called "KermlinRussia," who has more than 90,000 followers.

Last week, a website cloning that of a state-sponsored fitness and healthy lifestyle campaign announced it was inviting notoriously hard-living actor Charlie Sheen to share his tips at a summer camp.

© 2011 AFP

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