Ofcom: RT broke broadcasting rules
December 20, 2018
By Colin Mann
UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has found that the RT news channel broke broadcasting rules by failing to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes over a six-week period.
Earlier in 2018, Ofcom launched a number of investigations into RT to determine whether certain programmes broadcast on the channel had complied with broadcasting rules requiring due impartiality.
Having examined the programmes and all available evidence, including written and oral representations made by RT, Ofcom has concluded that the following seven programmes, which aired between 17 March 2018 and 26 April, broke due impartiality rules:
- Sputnik, RT, 17 March 2018, 19:30;
- News, RT, 18 March 2018, 08:00;
- Sputnik, RT, 7 April 2018, 19:30;
- Crosstalk, RT, 13 April 2018, 20:30;
- Crosstalk, RT, 16 April 2018, 20:30;
- Crosstalk, RT, 20 April 2018, 08:30; and
- News, RT, 26 April 2018, 08:00.
Three further programmes were found not in breach of Ofcom’s due impartiality rules.
Ofcom says that taken together, the seven breaches represent a serious failure of compliance with its broadcasting rules. Ofcom has told RT that it is minded to consider imposing a statutory sanction. The broadcaster now has an opportunity to make representations to the regulator, which it will consider before proceeding further.
RT said it was “extremely disappointed” by Ofcom’s conclusions in what it suggests were almost all self-initiated investigations into RT by the regulator. “We operate under rules outlined by the regulator, and always strive to abide by them. It appears Ofcom has failed to fully take on-board what we said in response to its investigations and, in particular, has not paid due regard to the rights of a broadcaster and the audience. We are reviewing the findings Ofcom has put forward and will decide shortly the nature of our next steps,” confirmed the broadcaster.