The Russian foreign ministry has started compiling a database of media reports labelled 'fake news'.

In a video announcing the new initiative published on 22 February, the ministry explains its goal is to highlight "examples of publications, retranslating false information about Russia". The database can be accessed through the ministry's 'press service' webpage, and then clicking under 'refutations'.

In five posts published between 20 February and 22 February, the ministry has so far identified examples of 'fake news' only in Western media outlets, including stories about the deployment of a missile violating an international treaty (from the New York Times), the hacking of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron (from Bloomberg), and a plot to assassinate the president of Montenegro (from The Telegraph).

The articles are pictured on the website with a stamp labelling them 'fake news' and a link to the original article. In explaining why the articles report false information, the ministry simply states: "This article puts forward information that does not correspond to reality", without offering any further detail.

The ministry's initiative seems to be the first example of a government-led example to name and shame publications as fake news, although US President Donald Trump has been recently using the label to refer to American media such as CNN and the New York Times in tweets published on his personal account.

One of the tweets, published on 17 February, even went so far as calling several media organisations "enemy of the American people".

The London-based Russian embassy in the UK welcomed the announcement. In a tweet published on 22 February, the Embassy describes the project's goal as "exposing Western media fakes about our country".

The Russian embassy in London has conducted its own fact-checking exercise of the coverage of Russia in the British press in the past month, using their Twitter account to reply to or deny reports in the British press that appear critical of the country.

It has, so far, targeted the Independent and the Telegraph.

But the Guardian is the publication that has so far received the most amount of 'fake news' labelling.

The Times and The Sunday Times have received their share of criticism too. The embassy even criticised a cartoon that appeared in The Times for "savaging" US President Donald Trump.

The embassy's style, unusually outspoken in the diplomatic world, had previously made headlines for a Tweet criticising then-President Barack Obama's decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats following concerns of Russian meddling in the election process.

They posted a picture of a baby duck with the word 'lame' struck across it — a reference to a lame duck elected official who loses influence with other politicians when they only have a short time left in office. "As everybody, including American people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless administration" the post, published on 29 December, read.