U.K. Regulator Says Russia's RT Broke Broadcasting Rules

Courtesy of Ofcom
Ofcom CEO Sharon White

The Kremlin-funded TV service's breaches "represent a serious failure of compliance with our broadcasting rules."

Britain's broadcasting regulator says Russian state-owned TV channel RT broke impartiality rules seven times after the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent, and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. They were eventually discharged from hospitalization.

Britain says Russia poisoned the Skripals with a Soviet-made nerve agent. Russia denies involvement.

Regulator Ofcom said Thursday that the seven breaches came in programs over a six-week period, mostly about the Skripal poisoning or the conflict in Syria. It said they "represent a serious failure of compliance with our broadcasting rules."

The regulator said it was considering a "statutory sanction," which could range from a fine to a license suspension.

"Russia Today’s mask as an impartial news provider is clearly slipping," said DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright in a statement. "We know some foreign regimes will use any vehicle at their disposal to sow discord in the West. It is vital that as a society we remain vigilant to the spread of harmful disinformation and Ofcom has strong powers to tackle it where it occurs in broadcast news."