Ukraine-Russia crisis: RT broadcast license revoked in UK with 'immediate effect', announce Ofcom

The broadcast license of the Russian state-backed channel RT has been revoked in the UK with “immediate effect”, the regulator Ofcom has announced

The 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.

Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine prompted Alex Salmond to merely 'suspend' his chat show on Russia's state-run RT channel.

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Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive 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.”

The regulator said they consider the volume and potentially serious nature of the issues raised within such a short period to be of “great concern”.

RT has been fined £200,000 for previous due impartiality breaches.

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This investigation has taken account of a number of factors, including RT’s relationship with the Russian Federation.

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The broadcast license of the Russian state-backed channel RT which Alex Salmond has presented on has been revoked in the UK with “immediate effect”, the regulator Ofcom has announced (Photo: Chris Radburn/PA)

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

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The regulator also said they 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.

Due to this, Ofcom said it is “impossible for RT to comply with the due impartiality rules of our Broadcasting Code in the circumstances”.

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A spokepserson added: “We recognise that RT is currently off air in the UK, as a result of sanctions imposed by the EU since the invasion of Ukraine commenced. 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.

"Taking all of this into account, as well as our immediate and repeated compliance concerns, 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.”

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