The UK’s media regulator, Ofcom, has today withdrawn Russian-backed television channel RT’s licence to broadcast in the UK, citing the channel’s ties to the Kremlin.
According to the regulator, Ofcom, RT was funded by the Russian government, which has launched a war on Ukraine and cracked down on independent journalists.
Ofcom was not convinced that RT could be a responsible broadcaster, and it immediately cancelled its license. It said that their investigation factored in RT’s ties to the Russian government.
What they are saying
Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive, said “Freedom of expression is something we guard fiercely in this country, and the bar for action on broadcasters is rightly set very high. Following an independent regulatory process, we have today found that RT is not fit and proper to hold a licence in the UK. As a result we have revoked RT’s UK broadcasting licence.”
The regulator recounted that the company paid a heavy fine for previous infractions.
RT, which is currently off-air in Britain due to EU sanctions, called the decision unfair.“Ofcom has shown the UK public, and the regulatory community internationally, that despite a well-constructed facade of independence, it is nothing more than a tool of government, bending to its media-suppressing will,” Anna Belkina, RT’s deputy editor in chief, told Reuters.
Britain, which has already accused RT of being a weapon of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign, asked Ofcom last month to take action against the channel if necessary.
Russian officials claim that RT is a tool for Moscow to counter the dominance of global media organizations based in the United States and the United Kingdom, which they claim provide a distorted image of the world.