- Jul 2011
Ofcom fines Russian news service £200,000Ofcom has fined a Russian news service £200,000 for "a serious breach" of impartiality rules in several news and current affairs programmes.
The broadcasting regulator said RT's breaches included reports on the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and the Syria conflict.
Ofcom has instructed RT, formerly Russia Today, to broadcast a summary of its findings.
The Kremlin-funded broadcaster called the fine "disproportionate".
The alleged breaches occurred in seven programmes broadcast between March and April 2018, an investigation by the regulator found in December.
The programmes were mostly in relation to major matters of political controversy including the Ukrainian Government's position on Nazism and its treatment of Roma Gypsies.
Two of the seven programmes featured former MP George Galloway.
Ofcom said: "RT's failings were a serious breach of our due impartiality rules, which protect public trust in news and other programmes," adding RT's breaches represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with its rules.
RT has denied the breaches and has launched legal proceeding against Ofcom's ruling. The watchdog said it would not enforce the fine until the proceedings have been concluded.
In a statement, RT said: "It is very wrong for Ofcom to have issued a sanction against RT on the basis of its breach findings that are currently under Judicial Review by the High Court in London.
"While we continue to contest the very legitimacy of the breach decisions themselves, we find the scale of proposed penalty to be particularly inappropriate and disproportionate per Ofcom's own track record."
RT claimed other breaches of the broadcasting code "involving hate speech and incitement to violence have been subject to substantially lower fines".
Predictably, Russia is already threatening retaliation against British media operating in the country (likely - BBC, that's who they targeted before when UK authorities went after RT): Russia warns British media after RT fined for coverage of poisoned spy - Reuters
RT is a big propaganda outfit for the Kremlin, for sure, it's head, Margarita Simonyan, is a loyal Putin sycophant, who was once in his Presidential press pool
But trying to censor them is unhelpful, if you ask me. In fact, it is a win for them. Certainly domestic propaganda-wise. They are not, after all, trying to convince Russians that Russia is better than America or Europe (North Koreans can self-delude that way, apparently; Russians are a bit too smart and educated for that lol); rather, they argue that the Western countries are no better than Russia. That they also have corruption, etc.
With this, they can now say, see, Britain censors media too...
Stupid move, in my opinion. Especially since it's hardly much of a punishment for them. £200,000 is nothing for RT, with their $300 million budget: Russia in 'information war' with West
IMHO, the better way to fight RT and others like them is for our own media to debate and refute any of their harmful ideas, in a free and open discussion. THAT is what they fear most, I think, that is why free and independent media is mostly shut down in Russia itself, you know