RT guilty of breaking UK broadcasting rules; fined £200,000

Ofcom has today fined RT £200,000 for serious failures to comply with UK broadcasting rules.

The broadcast regulator has also ordered the Moscow-based news channel to broadcast a summary of Ofcom's findings to its viewers.

In a statement issued by Ofcom, it said an investigation found that RT failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes between 17th March and 26th April 2018, mostly in relation to its coverage of the Salisbury poisoning and Syrian conflict.

The regulator said: "Taken together, these breaches represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with our rules. We were particularly concerned by the frequency of RT’s rule-breaking over a relatively short period of time."

Importantly, the channel's UK broadcast licences, which allow it to broadcast a UK version of the channel on Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media, will not be revoked. Ofcom has said the channel's compliance has improved since 2018, with no further breaches of UK broadcasting rules on due impartiality recorded since then.

There had been concerns that if RT's broadcast licence were to be revoked, Russian authorities would retaliate by banning the BBC from Russia.

RT will now have to broadcast a summary of Ofcom's findings "in a form and on dates" chosen by Ofcom.

Meanwhile, RT has issued an application for a judical review into Ofcom's decision over the seven rule breaches in question. Permission was granted last month and a hearing is expected towards the end of the year.