LONDON: Britain’s media regulator on Friday (Mar 18) 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 said it was not satisfied that RT could be a responsible broadcaster. Its investigation took into account RT’s relationship with the Russian government, it said.
“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.
The Kremlin crticised the move.
“This is a continuation of the madness which is going on in America and Europe – it is anti-Russian madness,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “This is yet another step that crudely limits freedom of speech.”
Russia has cut access to several foreign news organisations’ websites, including the BBC, for spreading what it alleged was false information about the war. Bloomberg News temporarily suspended the work of its journalists inside Russia, citing the new media law.