Ofcom strips RT of UK broadcasting licence

TV news channel RT, formerly Russia Today, has had its licence to broadcast in the UK revoked by the media regulator Ofcom.  

Ofcom has withdrawn the licence on the basis that RT is not “fit and proper to hold a UK broadcast licence.” 

The move comes as 29 Ofcom investigations have been opened into the channel’s due impartiality of its coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  

Ofcom’s drastic decision was in part instigated by RT’s repeated breaches of impartiality rules, which previously saw the network fined £200,000.  

The media regulator added that its decisions took “a number of factors” into account, namely: that RT is directly funded and controlled by the Russian state, and that new laws passed in Russia have criminalised any independent reporting that does not toe the official Kremlin line. 

RT has been off the air in the UK since 2 March, with several high-profile journalists resigning from the channel in protest at its coverage of the invasion of Ukraine.  

Following vociferous criticism, former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond also announced that he would be suspending the weekly talk show he had hosted on the channel for over four years. 


“Freedom of expression is something we guard fiercely in this country, and the bar for action on broadcasters is rightly set very high,” Ofcom CEO Melanie Dawes said. 

“Following an independent regulatory process, we have today found that RT is not fit and proper to hold a licence in the UK. As a result, we have revoked RT’s UK broadcasting licence.” 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov criticised the move, saying that it was a continuation of the Occident’s “anti-Russia madness” and that it was “yet another step that crudely limits freedom of speech.” 

RT deputy editor-in-chief, Anna Belkina added: “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.” 

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