The UK’s media regulator Ofcom says it will “consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licenses” if Britain determines there was “an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK.”
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Continuing, the statement reads: “As the independent UK broadcasting regulator, Ofcom has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that broadcast licensees remain fit and proper to hold their licences.
“We have today written to ANO TV Novosti, holder of RT’s UK broadcast licences, which is financed from the budget of the Russian Federation. This letter explained that, 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 letter to RT said that we would carry out our independent fit and proper assessment on an expedited basis, and we would write to RT again shortly setting out details of our process.”
The threat comes after UK PM Theresa May gave Moscow two days to explain the alleged use of a military-grade nerve agent which the UK claims came from Russia to poison ex-double agent Sergei Skripal. May says it’s “highly likely” Moscow was responsible.
She alleges the attack was either a direct act by the Russian state on Britain, or the Russian government allowed its nerve agent ‘Novichok’ to get into the wrong hands. “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible,” she said.
After the statement in the House of Commons, Labour MP Chris Bryan asked May: “Can we just stop Russia Today [RT] broadcasting its propaganda in this country?” The PM responded by saying she would update MPs on “further measures” later this week.
The threat of banning RT led to a backlash from some on Twitter. RT contributors, viewers and members of the public speaking out against the proposal with some calling it an attack on “freedom of speech.”
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