Ofcom has revoked the Kremlin’s propaganda news agency RT UK’s licence with immediate effect amid 29 investigations ongoing due to RT’s “impartiality” of their programmes.
A statement released by Ofcom on Friday said, “We consider the volume and potentially serious nature of the issues raised within such a short period to be of great concern – especially given RT’s compliance history, which has seen the channel fined £200,000 for previous due impartiality breaches.
“In this context, we launched a separate investigation to determine whether ANO TV Novosti is fit and proper to retain its licence to broadcast.”
The regulator’s decision came over their coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the British Prime Minister had previously called for Ofcom to investigate the Kremlin backed news agency.
Ofcom said due to the new laws in Russia which “effectively criminalise any independent journalism that departs from the Russian state’s own news narrative,” mainly in relation to the Ukraine war.
Ofcom added, “We consider that, given these constraints, it appears impossible for RT to comply with the due impartiality rules of our broadcasting code in the circumstances.
“We have concluded that we cannot be satisfied that RT can be a responsible broadcaster in the current circumstances.
“Ofcom is therefore revoking RT’s licence to broadcast with immediate effect.”
They continued, “We take seriously the importance, in our democratic society, of a broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression and the audience’s right to receive information and ideas without undue interference.
“We also take seriously the importance of maintaining audiences’ trust and public confidence in the UK’s broadcasting regulatory regime.”
Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes 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.”
RT’s deputy editor-in-chief, Anna Belkina, in a statement, “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.
“By ignoring RT’s completely clean record of four consecutive years and stating purely political reasons tied directly to the situation in Ukraine and yet completely unassociated to RT’s operations, structure, management or editorial output, Ofcom has falsely judged RT to not be ‘fit and proper’ and in doing so robbed the UK public of access to information.”