UK revokes Russian channel RT's licence after probe into Ukraine coverage

Media regulator said it was not satisfied the Moscow-backed channel could be a responsible broadcaster

Russia's state-controlled RT channel said the UK regulator had shown itself to be nothing more than a tool of the British government. AFP

Britain's media regulator has revoked Russian-backed television channel RT's licence to broadcast in the UK with immediate effect after a probe into the impartiality of its coverage of the Ukraine invasion.

The regulator, Ofcom, said on Friday that it was not satisfied that RT’s licensee, ANO TV-Novosti, could be a responsible broadcaster.

It said: “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.

“In this context, we launched a separate investigation to determine whether ANO TV-Novosti is fit and proper to retain its licence to broadcast.”

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.”

RT responded by saying the regulator had shown itself to be nothing more than a tool of the British government.

Updated: March 18, 2022, 8:45 AM
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