United Kingdom regulator warns Russian channel RT after spy scandal

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 14, 2018

Britain has given Putin until midnight on Tuesday to explain how a nerve agent developed by the former Soviet Union was used to strike down the father and daughter.

Britain's media regulator said RT (Russia Today) could lose its United Kingdom licence if Prime Minister Theresa May's government determines Moscow was behind the poisoning.

Labour MP Phil Wilson said British politicians should refuse to be interviewed by the channel, where former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has a talk show. "Not a single British media outlet will work in our country if they shut down Russia Today".

Russia Today, now known by its acronym as RT, was set up in the mid-2000s to counter what Russian President Vladimir Putin saw as the dominance of American and British worldwide media organisations and their allegedly pro-Western bias.

Meanwhile in a blunt warning to Prime Minister Theresa May's government, Zakharova also said nobody should threaten a nuclear power, alluding to Russian Federation.

Ofcom, which enforces the broadcasting code in Britain, is charged with checking that holders of licences are "fit and proper".

RT, which runs eight TV channels, including RT U.K. broadcast from London, said it disagreed with the position taken by Ofcom.

"Our broadcasting has in no way changed this week from any other week and continues to adhere to all standards", it said in a statement.

Available in more than 100 countries, RT says it covers stories overlooked by the mainstream media and provides alternative perspectives on current affairs, including giving a Russian viewpoint.

The OFCOM regulator reported earlier in the day it was going to consider whether the TV channel is "fit and proper" to have a United Kingdom license in case Russian Federation is found to be involved in the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

May will brief parliament on the situation tomorrow and Ofcom said it would consider the implications for RT's broadcast licences after that.

The regulator said it had written to ANO TV Novosti, the holder of RT's United Kingdom broadcast licences, to explain that, should Britain determine there was unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom, it would consider this relevant to the "fit and proper" test.

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