17 Jan 2019 18:07

RT to appeal UK media regulator's impartiality findings

MOSCOW. Jan 17 (Interfax) - The television network RT intends to go to court to have the rulings of the UK media regulator Ofcom, which found that RT broke impartiality rules in some of its reports, overturned.

"Today RT has informed Ofcom that it will be seeking Judicial Review of Ofcom's decisions and process in its breach findings of 20th December against the network," RT said in a statement available on its website on Thursday.

It insisted that none of its programs violated Ofcom's rules.

"RT is left with no choice other than to seek Judicial Review of the matter. RT determinedly adheres to the Ofcom Code," it said.

"None of the 7 in-breach decisions against RT concluded that we had disseminated inaccurate information. Ofcom's own analysis acknowledged that the network presented multiple sides in its news coverage and discussion. However, Ofcom proceeded to make adverse findings in a manner contrary to the law," it said.

It was reported in December that the UK media regulator Ofcom might take measures against RT, including a fine of 250,000 pounds or the revocation of its license. According to Western media, Ofcom ruled that RT had broken impartiality rules seven times over six weeks in spring 2018.

In response, Roskomnadzor launched an inspection of BBC World News and its online resources. Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed that this was a response to London's decision on RT, saying that Russian agencies have had questions for the BBC due to its coverage of Russia-related events, including the military operation in Syria.

Roskomnadzor announced on January 10 that it would conduct an inspection between January 14 and 31 to check whether the broadcaster responsible for BBC World News in Russia is in compliance with licensing and regulatory requirements in the area of broadcasting. It sent British Television a letter requesting documents proving that the broadcaster meets requirements related to restrictions on direct or indirect foreign control of domestic media outlets. Roskomnadzor said the deadline was January 16.

Roskomnadzor said on January 10 that "materials conveying the ideological principles of international terrorist organizations were uncovered" during a check of the BBC's online resources, including https://www.bbc.com/russian, for compliance with Russian law. The regulator said it was referring to quotes of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL (banned in Russia).

Roskomnadzor said "it [was] checking whether these materials comply with the norms of Russia's anti-terrorism legislation."

A BBC representative told Interfax that the BBC is fully compliant with Russian law and stands ready to clarify how it covers a particular event if regulators make such a request.