What is the reason for the escalation of media tensions between the UK and Russia in recent days?
What destructive actions has the UK taken against RT in recent days?
What steps has Russia taken to retaliate after the revocation of RT’s licence in the UK?
What are the reasons for Ofcom to revoke RT’s licence?
Moscow has said it will retaliate by suspending the British media following a statement by the UK’s communications regulator who revoked the RT news network licence.
Britain’s Destructive Actions Against RT
Action against the Russian television network RT in the UK has been stepped up following a request to reconsider its licence. Nadine Dorries, the UK’s Culture Secretary, said that the RT television network was demonstrably part of Russia’s global disinformation campaign, and called on Ofcom to review the network’s plans and put a revision of its licence on the agenda. The UK’s Culture Secretary considered it necessary to limit the ability of the Russian media to spread propaganda. Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, also revealed that it had already stepped up its supervision of broadcasters in the UK covering the Ukraine crisis. It also announced an immediate review of complaints and prompt action.
Russian Advertising Tools
Following the escalation of tensions between the US and its allies with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, British Labour leader Keir Starmer described RT as a Russian propaganda tool and called on Boris Johnson to take action against it. The UK Prime Minister also replied that he has already asked the Secretary of Culture to start investigations in this regard. “We live in a democracy, and we live in a country that believes in free speech. And I think it’s important that we should leave it up to Ofcom rather than to politicians to decide which media organisations to ban. That’s what Russia does,” Johnson said.
Boris Johnson’s Negligence in Taking Action Against Russia
Critics of Johnson, however, say Russian capitalist donations to the ruling Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson have tied his hands for widespread action against Russia. The British Foreign Office quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that the country had also announced that it would retaliate against the British media if the UK restricted the activities of the Russian media. Officials at RT Network also accused British officials of interfering with and threatening freedom of expression, saying Western politicians, especially British ones, had finally come out of hypocrisy by openly intervening in institutions described as independent and free from political pressure. They also saw the network as a way to compete with the dominance of the US and British media giants, stressing that their coverage was biased and could not tolerate any more voices. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
Revocation of RT Licence in the UK
Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, has said it has revoked the Russian RT network’s licence to broadcast, saying it does not consider it appropriate or a responsible broadcaster in the current circumstances. A statement by Ofcom said: “Today’s decision comes amid 29 ongoing investigations by Ofcom into the due impartiality of RT’s news and current affairs coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 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.” A statement from the Office of Communications said the decision was taken at the request of the UK government and will take effect soon. Ofcom said in a statement that RT was currently in the UK due to EU sanctions since the start of the offensive in Ukraine.
Ofcom’s Reasons for Revoking RT’s Licence
The communications regulator clarified several factors, including the fact that the news channel is funded by the Russian government, “It has recognised that RT is funded by the Russian state, which has recently invaded a neighbouring sovereign country.” Ofcom also cited several new laws in Russia which criminalise virtually any independent journalistic activity separate from that of the Russian government itself, in particular in connection with the invasion of Ukraine. Ofcom has said that the revocation of the licence is urgent and must be implemented immediately.
Request of the British Government from Ofcom
Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that the government had asked Ofcom to reconsider its decision to allow RT to operate. The Russian embassy in London has repeatedly stressed the unacceptability of pressure from British officials on the activities of the Russian media operating in the country, calling such actions restrictions on freedom of expression. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that despite the revocation of the licence in UK, RT would try to convey what he wanted to his audience. He added: “This is a continuation of the madness which is going on in America and Europe – it is anti-Russian madness. This is yet another step that crudely limits freedom of speech”.
Russia Retaliates Against the UK
Moscow also threatened to crack down on the British media following Ofcom’s decision to ban Russia’s RT network. Moscow is considering reacting to the decision after the British media regulator described its action as “proportionate and necessary”. The Russian embassy in the UK said it was considering how to react to the decision to lift RT’s broadcasting licence in UK. The Russian side reserves the right to react in accordance with normal international practice and the activities of the British media in this regard.
Russian-British Media War
Following the announcement of Ofcom’s decision, RT condemned it in a statement, saying that it showed that it is a tool in the hands of the British government. Ofcom’s decision has no effect on access to RT, as it was discontinued on various platforms following EU sanctions against the network earlier this month. Russia has reacted to the decision of the British media watchdog to revoke the licence of the RT television network. Criticising the decision, Anna Belkina, RT deputy editor-in-chief, said: “Ofcom has shown the UK public, and the regulatory community internationally, that despite a well-constructed facade of independence, it is nothing more than a tool of government, bending to its media-suppressing will”.
The media war, Silent battle
The media war between Russia and the UK has escalated and the two sides are blaming each other. Protests against Boris Johnson’s negligence towards Russia are on the rise, with British politicians accusing him of not being decisive enough against Russia. As tensions between Russia and the UK continue after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the media war between the two sides has also escalated. Experts predict that tensions between the UK and Russia will escalate if the Ukraine-Russia war continues.