Further sanctions? Russian news channel RT failed to preserve due impartiality in its coverage of the Ukraine conflict, UK’s Ofcom finds
The British communications regulator Ofcom is considering imposing a “statutory sanction” of Russian news channel RT.
It was back in March this year , weeks against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, that the UK, along with other European nations, “revoked RT’s licence to broadcast in the UK, with immediate effect.”
The regulator said at the time that said that it did not consider RT’s licensee, ANO TV Novosti, fit and proper to hold a UK broadcast licence.
Following that revoking of UK broadcast licence, RT is no longer broadcasting in the UK.
And now Ofcom announced that RT’s news and current affairs coverage in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine breached due impartiality rules on 29 occasions in four days.
RT breached Ofcom’s rules that require broadcasters to take additional steps to preserve due impartiality – namely by including and giving due weight to a wide range of significant views.
“News programmes must be able to report on controversial issues and take a position on those issues, even if that position is highly critical,” the regulator said. “But due impartiality requirements in broadcasting are particularly important in situations where events are changing quickly and potentially harmful disinformation is available online.”
Ofcom said that it had launched 29 investigations into RT following complaints from viewers and Ofcom’s own monitoring of the channel.
Its investigations looked at the due impartiality of 15 RT News bulletins on 27 February 2022, 12 on 1 March 2022, and one on 2 March 2022 as well as the documentary Donbass Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow which was repeated across 1 and 2 March 2022.
“In each case, we found that RT’s coverage failed to preserve due impartiality in relation to the conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine,” said the regulator. “Ofcom considers that these breaches were serious and repeated, and we are minded to consider them for the imposition of a statutory sanction.”
In response to the findings, RT was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The logic of these decisions mirrors the one guiding their delivery many months after Ofcom’s revocation of RT’s license: it is a trial after a conviction.”
RT it should be remembered is funded by the Russian state, which illegally invaded a neighbouring sovereign country.
All the major tech platforms including Google, YouTube and Facebook have also already blocked Russia’s RT, and Sputnik.
Most of the world has placed Russia firmly behind a tech and business ‘iron curtain’, in order to isolate the pariah nation for its invasion of Ukraine.