A Kremlin-backed TV station is banned from broadcasting in the UK after the media regulator revoked its license effective immediately.
It comes as Russia continues its war in Ukraine, which has killed hundreds of civilians, forced more than 3 million to flee and devastated cities in the first three weeks.
On Friday, Britain’s media regulator said it was revoking RT’s license to broadcast in the UK following an investigation – which took into account Russian state funding and new laws affecting independent journalism in Russia.
Ofcom said it did not believe RT was able to comply with impartiality laws in the UK given the current circumstances
“We do not consider RT appropriate and appropriate to hold a UK license and cannot be satisfied that it can be a responsible broadcaster,” Ofcom said.
The broadcaster hit back, accusing the regulator of being a “government tool” and “depriving the UK public of access to information”.
Ofcom said it recognized as part of its investigation the fact that RT was currently off the air in the UK. Sky TV stopped showing the channel due to EU sanctions against its European satellite operator, while Google has also banned its Youtube channels.
The regulator said as of Friday there were 29 ongoing investigations into RT’s news and breaking coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and it considered the “volume and potentially serious nature of the issues raised in such a short period of time to be very serious.” worrying”.
Ofcom said it had launched a separate investigation into whether ANO TV Novosti should keep the license it held for RT.
She announced on Friday that she would be removing them with immediate effect.
Ofcom Chief Executive Dame Melanie Dawes said: “Freedom of expression is something we protect closely in this country and the bar for action on broadcasters is rightly very high.
“Following an independent regulatory process, we have today determined that RT is unfit and unfit to hold a license in the UK. As a result, we have revoked RT’s UK broadcasting license.”
Anna Belkina, RT’s deputy editor-in-chief, told Reuters: “Ofcom has shown the UK public and the regulatory community worldwide that despite a well-constructed facade of independence, it is nothing more than an instrument of government bowing to its media – suppression of will. “
She alleged that Ofcom had “misjudged that RT was not ‘appropriate and appropriate’, thereby depriving the UK public of access to information.”
The Russian government has increased censorship since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin has blocked most of Russia’s independent media and forced the rest to stop reporting altogether, threatening prosecution and jail for deviating from the official line, including labeling the action a war or invasion.
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https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/russia-ukraine-rt-ofcom-uk-b2038723.html Ukraine-Russia crisis: Ofcom revokes RT’s Kremlin-backed broadcasting license in the UK