Russian TV station RT could be kicked off the airwaves after breaking impartiality rules seven times over Salisbury novichok attack
- Broadcaster previously branded a ‘mouthpiece for Putin’ breached TV rules
- Watchdog Ofcom said seven news programmes broke code on impartiality
- They now face possible sanctions, ranging from on-air statement to revocation
Russia’s RT news channel could lose its licence to broadcast in the UK for breaking impartiality rules in the wake of the Salisbury novichok attack.
The TV station, which critics have branded a ‘propaganda mouthpiece for the Russian state’, failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news programmes over a six-week period, Ofcom announced this morning.
‘Taken together, the seven breaches represent a serious failure of compliance with our broadcasting rules,’ the watchdog said today.
‘We have told RT that we are minded to consider imposing a statutory sanction.’
The Russian news channel RT could be pulled from the airwaves in the UK for breaching impartiality rules following the Salisbury novichok attack
The programmes were broadcast in the wake of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4.
The broadcasting watchdog launched investigations into RT, formerly Russia Today, earlier this year.
It said that the seven breaches ‘represent a serious failure of compliance with our broadcasting rules’.
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Ofcom is now considering sanctions, which, if imposed, could range from a statement read out on air, a fine, or, as a last resort, revocation of their licence.
The station also broadcast an interview with two Russian spies, later unmasked as Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga, after Scotland Yard identified them as the prime suspects in the chemical weapons attack.
The two men – since identified as GRU agents – claimed they were simply tourists visiting Salisbury to see its cathedral spire.
The station was ridiculed for failing to properly question the two prime suspects in the chemical weapons attack, Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga
Following Ofcom’s ruling today, RT said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ is considering its options in response.
Channel bosses said: ‘RT is extremely disappointed by Ofcom’s conclusions in what were almost all self-initiated investigations into RT by the regulator.
‘We operate under rules outlined by the regulator, and always strive to abide by them.
‘It appears Ofcom has failed to fully take on-board what we said in response to its investigations and, in particular, has not paid due regard to the rights of a broadcaster and the audience.
‘We are reviewing the findings Ofcom has put forward and will decide shortly the nature of our next steps.’
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