Ofcom launches 15 investigations into RT
March 1, 2022
By Colin Mann
UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has opened 15 new investigations into the due impartiality of news programmes on the RT news channel.
Ofcom has observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that warrant investigation under its Broadcasting Code.
When dealing with major matters such as the crisis in Ukraine, all Ofcom licensees must comply with the special impartiality requirements in our Code. These rules require broadcasters to take additional steps to preserve due impartiality – namely by including and giving due weight to a wide range of significant views.
These investigations – which relate to 15 editions of the hourly News programme broadcast on RT on 27 February 2022 between 05:00 and 19:00 inclusive – will be expedited, given the severity and urgency of the current crisis. We expect full cooperation from RT.
The licences for the RT service are held by ANO TV Novosti.
“Given the scale and gravity of the crisis in Ukraine, audiences expect to be able to trust and rely on duly impartial broadcast news,” stated Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s Chief Executive. “When reporting on an armed conflict, we recognise it can be difficult for broadcasters to verify information and events, but it is imperative that they make every effort to do so. They must also explain clearly to audiences where there is uncertainty or where events are disputed.”
“Supporting a fair and free media is central to Ofcom’s work. We take this responsibility – and our duty to protect audiences and uphold trust in news – extremely seriously. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of our approach and fundamental to our democracy.”
“Given the serious on-going situation in Ukraine, we will be concluding our investigations into RT as a matter of urgency,” she confirmed.