UK: Ofcom launches 15 probes into RT programs over ‘due impartiality’

UK: Ofcom launches 15 probes into RT programs over ‘due impartiality’

by Pranali Mehta

British media regulator, Office of Communications, also called Ofcom, has reportedly launched 15 investigations into the matter of ‘due impartiality of programs’ broadcasted on the Russian English-language news channel RT.

Dame Melanie Dawes, chief executive of Ofcom, has described the situation as serious and expects full cooperation from RT in the regulator’s attempt of looking into a potential breach of rules as quickly as possible in face of the Ukraine crisis.

Dame Dawes stated that the regulator has concerns regarding 15 programs, which is an unexpected number from any one broadcaster on a general day, and that it will continue monitoring, receiving, and acting on whatever complaints are it receives while those programs are still aired.

The probes are related to the 15 editions of the hourly News program coverage of the channel on Ukraine, which ran on 27th February from 5 am onwards to the next 48 hours.

While not many details have been disclosed regarding the matter, it is pertinent to state that Ofcom is facing an increasing political pressure to essentially revoke the news channel’s license.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that he would have banned the channel if he held the power to do so as it was damaging the truth.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour Party leader, called RT ‘President Vladimir Putin’s personal tool for propaganda’, claiming that it is spreading lies and disinformation.

The move comes after European Union announced the banning of the channel.

With increasing calls to suspend RT’s license, concerns are being raised that such an action will cause a tit-for-tat media expulsion in Russia, with Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss stating that if RT is banned in the UK, channels like BBC will likely get banned in Russia.

Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, had asked Ofcom last week to review RT’s operations as she was concerned that certain states might be exploiting and undermining the country’s media landscape.

Truss added that the agency wants the Russian population to hear the truth about what their President is doing, meaning that a careful judgment has to be made, which is what the Culture Secretary is also aiming for.

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Pranali Mehta

A chemical engineer by qualification, Pranali Mehta dutifully walked down the slated path and worked in a chemical firm for a year. Her passion for writing however, pushed her into experimenting with the same as a career. With over three years of experience in content writ Read more...