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RT faces £200k Ofcom fine, but retains licence

British regulator Ofcom has fined Kremlin-funded RT £200,000 (€222,741) for breaching impartiality rules.

An investigation into RT found that the network breached the British broadcasting code on seven occasions in six weeks following the 2018 Salsibury novichok attack, and in regards to its reporting of the Syrian conflict.

It had been speculated that the network would lose its licence, but Ofcom considers the sanction to be “appropriate and proportionate”.

In addition to paying the fine, RT must broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s findings in a form and on dates to be determined by the regulator.

Ofcom said that the breaches “represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with our rules” and that the body was “particularly concerned by the frequency of RT’s rule-breaking over a relatively short period of time”.

However, the regulator noted that it has “not recorded any further breaches of [its] due impartiality rules against RT to date”.

RT is currently challenging the initial ruling through a judicial review, with the case expected to reach the courts by the end of the year. 

Despite being available to most households on Freeview, the channel’s reach is very limited in the UK, with an average of 332,000 viewers a week.

In 2017, the network was stripped of its credentials by the US congressional press office, and is now registered as a ‘foreign agent’. Russian president Vladmir Putin retaliated by placing restrictions on American media outlets in the country.

Tags: Ofcom, RT