Ofcom has revoked RT’s UK broadcasting licence with immediate effect, after deeming RT’s licensee, ANO TV Novosti, not “fit and proper” to hold a UK broadcast licence.
Earlier this month the regulator announced it had opened 29 investigations into the impartiality of the broadcaster’s coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement announcing its decision to revoke RT’s licence, Ofcom said: “We consider the volume and potentially serious nature of the issues raised within such a short period to be of great concern – especially given RT’s compliance history, which has seen the channel fined £200,000 for previous due impartiality breaches.”
It then opened an investigation into whether ANO TV Novosti is fit and proper to retain its licence to broadcast.
“This investigation has taken account of a number of factors, including RT’s relationship with the Russian Federation,” added Ofcom. “It has recognised that RT is funded by the Russian state, which has recently invaded a neighbouring sovereign country. We also note new laws in Russia which effectively criminalise any independent journalism that departs from the Russian state’s own news narrative, in particular in relation to the invasion of Ukraine. We consider that given these constraints it appears impossible for RT to comply with the due impartiality rules of our Broadcasting Code in the circumstances.”
Ofcom added that it recognises RT is currently off air in the UK, as a result of sanctions imposed by the EU.
“Taking all of this into account,” it added, “as well as our immediate and repeated compliance concerns, we have concluded that we cannot be satisfied that RT can be a responsible broadcaster in the current circumstances. Ofcom is therefore revoking RT’s licence to broadcast with immediate effect.”