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18 June, 2024
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UK revokes Russian channel RT's licence, citing links to Kremlin

RT calls the move unfair, calling Ofcom nnothing more than a government tool

Source: Reuters

Britain's media regulator on Friday revoked Russian-backed television channel RT's licence to broadcast in the United Kingdom, citing its links to the Kremlin.

The regulator, Ofcom, said in a statement that RT received funding from the Russian state, which has launched a war on Ukraine and cracked down on independent journalism.

Ofcom was not satisfied that RT could be a responsible broadcaster and it revoked its licence with immediate effect.

It said its investigation took into account RT's relationship with the Russian government.

"It has recognised that RT is funded by the Russian state, which has recently invaded a neighbouring sovereign country," it said.

"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.

In light of that, it was impossible for RT to comply with the impartiality rules in Britain's broadcasting code, it said.

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 accused RT of being a tool of a Kremlin disinformation campaign in the past, asked Ofcom last month to take action against RT if needed.

Russian officials say RT is a way for Moscow to compete with the dominance of global media companies based in the United States and Britain that Moscow says offer a partial view of the world.

Separately, Ofcom currently has 29 ongoing investigations into RT's impartiality concerning coverage of the war.

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