Mar 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

Britain bans Russian state-backed media outlet RT

Photo of a video camera set up in front of a green wall with the RT logo on it

Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Britain revoked RT's broadcast license on Friday, citing the Russian state-backed media outlet's inability to comply with the country's rules regarding due impartiality in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Driving the news: The ban comes as Western institutions crack down on Russian state-funded outlets that have long served as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin, Axios' Sara Fischer notes.

Details: U.K. broadcast media regulator Ofcom said Friday that because the Russian state funds RT and "effectively criminalise[s] any independent journalism that departs from the Russian state’s own news narrative ... it appears impossible for RT to comply with the due impartiality rules of our Broadcasting Code in the circumstances."

  • Ofcom is revoking its license amid 29 ongoing investigations into RT's coverage of the invasion, the regulator said. The channel was previously fined £200,000 ($263,680) for due impartiality breaches.
  • RT was already off the air in the U.K. due to EU sanctions in response to the invasion.

What they're saying: "Freedom of expression is something we guard fiercely in this country, and the bar for action on broadcasters is rightly set very high," Melanie Dawes, Ofcom chief executive, said in the statement.

  • "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."

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