Russia's international propaganda channel RT will not lose its UK broadcasting licence
according to information reported by the Telegraph.
Ofcom has been investigating the news channel for continuously casting doubt about the Russian connection in the attempted murder of ex spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
Perhaps it is rather bizarre that a news content censors should be tasked with something that could lead to consequences such as retaliatory action and a further escalation of an already tense relationship with Russia. Surely when such risks are
involved, diplomats and the Foreign Office should be taking the lead.
Perhaps Ofcom were thinking along these lines in taking the decision not to ban the channel. In a legal document entitled Update on the RT service , Ofcom has now said:
States sometimes commit, or will have committed, acts which are contrary to these values. In our judgment, it would be inappropriate for Ofcom always to place decisive weight on such matters in determining whether state-funded broadcasters were
fit and proper to hold broadcast licences, independently of their broadcasting record.
If we did, many state-funded broadcasters (mostly those from states which may not share UK values) would be potentially not fit and proper. This would be a poorer outcome for UK audiences in light of our duties on plurality, diversity and freedom
Ofcom were a bit more bullish at the start of the investigation saying:
Should the UK investigating authorities determine that there was an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the UK, we would consider this relevant to our ongoing duty to be satisfied that RT is fit and proper, the regulator said at
Also it is a little strange to note that the Telegraph's story has not been picked up by other newspapers. The Express initially published the story but withdrew it a little later.
Update: Tit for tat
24th May 2018. From the FT
Ofcom have jsut announced that that 3 further programmes on the Russian propaganda channel RT will be investigated after an Ofcom move to continuously monitor the station's output. In response, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova
has informed reporters that relevant Russian structures have begun closely studying the content of the materials of the British mass media that are represented in the Russian Federation.