Ofcom Revokes RT’s Licence To Broadcast In UK With Immediate Effect
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Ofcom has revoked RT’s licence to broadcast in the UK with immediate effect - saying the channel is not ‘fit and proper' to hold a UK broadcast licence.
The Russian state-controlled TV network will no longer air in the UK following an investigation by regulatory body Ofcom into the impartiality of its news coverage amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, Ofcom said: “Today’s decision comes amid 29 ongoing investigations by Ofcom into the due impartiality of RT’s news and current affairs coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
"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.”
The statement went on: “We also note new laws in Russia which effectively criminalise any independent journalism that departs from the Russian state’s own news narrative, in particular in relation to the invasion of Ukraine.
"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.”
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.”
Prior to having its licence revoked, RT had been taken off the air due to sanctions imposed on Russia.
Announcing that RT had gone off-air, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “RT is no longer available on British TVs. [The] channel is now down across Sky, Freeview and Freesat. The Russian dictator will now find it harder to spread his disinformation and lies.”
The TV channel was also a target for hacking collective Anonymous, which declared a ‘cyber war’ on Russia in the days after the Ukrainian invasion.
Via @YourAnonNews, they wrote: "The Anonymous collective is officially in cyber war against the Russian government."
And within minutes of the announcement, RT’s website was downed but was later back up and running.