Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this morning that she thought the media regulator Ofcom would be looking at Russia’s state-backed news channel Russia Today, which is broadcast in the UK.
“On the subject of Russia Today I am of the view that it broadcasts propaganda and fake news on a regular basis and is effectively an arm of the Russian state, and I’m sure Ofcom is looking at that,” Truss told Times Radio when asked about RT and the Champions League final going ahead in Russia.
It comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for the Kremlin’s state-controlled TV network to be banned from airing in the UK.
“Putin’s campaign of misinformation should be tackled, and Russia Today should be prevented from broadcasting its propaganda around the world”, he told Parliament, following Russian troops advancing into the country’s east.
Shadow Cabinet minister Lisa Nandy echoed this call for action, adding: “When the Russia Report was published we asked Ofcom to review Russia Today’s license. Given what is unfolding, why is it still freely broadcasting state propaganda in the UK?”
Indeed, Ofcom fined the broadcaster £200,000 back in 2019 over breaches to impartiality rules, especially surrounding the Salisbury Novichok poisonings.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries also aired her concerns last night on Twitter regarding the Champions League match scheduled to be played at the Gazprom Arena on May 28 in St Petersburg.
It is understood that UEFA is considering moving the game, following Boris Johnson’s comments that Russia has “no chance'” of hosting football. tournaments
A spokesperson for Ofcom told City A.M.: “All licensees must observe Ofcom’s rules, including due accuracy and due impartiality. If broadcasters break those rules, we will not hesitate to step in. Given the seriousness of the Ukraine crisis, we will examine complaints about any broadcaster’s news coverage of this issue as a priority.”
Boris Johnson has since said that Dorries has written to Ofcom to ask for a probe into whether to ban RT.