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European Union bans RT

EU president Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement: "We will ban the Kremlin's media machine"

In an unprecedented step, the European Union has announced it is banning both RT and Sputnik from broadcasting in the bloc.

EU president Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement: “We will ban in the EU the Kremlin’s media machine.

“The state-owned Russia Today (sic) and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to saw division in our Union,” she added.

“So we are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe.”

Von der Leyen did not reveal how the EU will ban the broadcasters, or when the bans will take effect.

Earlier this week, Germany and Poland both banned RT from their airwaves.

In the UK, prime minister Boris Johnson has criticised RT, accusing the broadcaster of “doing a lot of damage to the truth”.

“I think it’s important that Ofcom should look at it and make up its mind about whether that organisation is infringing the rules of this country.”

Last week Ofcom said it was stepping up its oversight of coverage of events in Ukraine following calls from a number of government ministers asking the regulator to look at RT’s content over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an issue the watchdog views as a “priority”.

The European Broadcasting Union has issued a statement amidst reports Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (RTR), Channel One Russia and Radio House Ostankino intend to withdraw from the organisation.

The EBU said it had not received any formal confirmation from its members.

“The EBU was informed by RTR on Friday that this could be the outcome of suspending Russia from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. However, in light of the unprecedented crisis unfolding in Ukraine, our executive board still felt that the inclusion of the Russian entry in this year’s event would undermine the values of the Contest and bring the competition into disrepute,” added the statement.

“Our Union is committed to upholding the values of public service media and, as this conflict escalates, our priority must be to ensure all citizens continue to have access to trusted, independent news and information and that journalists are allowed to report freely and safely.”