News broadcaster Russia Today has been criticised by UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom for comments made in a July 12 broadcast about the Syrian popular uprising.
Specifically, Ofcom found Russia Today “in breach” of its impartiality rules, and comments made during a newscast for a lack of balance and absence of perspective and impartiality.
TV Novosti, which holds the formal Russia Today licence to operate from the UK, said in its submissions to Ofcom that its on-air comments were based on basic ‘Freedom of expression’ rights, and that these rights would be impinged if Ofcom found against the broadcaster.
Ofcom, in its findings said: “Ofcom emphasises that there is no requirement on broadcasters to provide an alternative viewpoint on all news stories or issues in the news, or to do so in all individual news items or programmes. It is also legitimate for news on a licensed service to be presented in broad terms from the viewpoint of a particular nation-state. However, all news must be presented with due impartiality: that is with impartiality adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme. Presenting news stories with due impartiality in news programmes very much depends on editorial discretion being exercised appropriately in all the circumstances.”
“Given the above, we concluded that, overall and on the specific facts of this case, the news bulletin broadcast at 10:00 on 12 July 2012 was not presented with due impartiality in respect of its treatment of the Syrian conflict. We have therefore recorded a breach of Rule 5.1 of the Code.”
The full report, and ruling, can be viewed HERE