'UK Using Spy Scandal as Pretext' to Crack Down on Russian Media - Writer

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RT channel - Sputnik International
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that all illegal action taken against any Russian news outlet in the UK will lead to a symmetrical response from Moscow. Earlier this week, RT received a letter from the OFCOM regulator stating that it will take into consideration the implications for its broadcast licenses in the UK.

Sputnik discussed this with Andre Vltchek, writer and filmmaker, who is currently based in Beirut.

Sputnik: How would you comment on the fact that RT is being threatened with losing its broadcasting license and being linked to unrelated matters?

Andre Vltchek: I think it is an extremely dangerous situation, I also think that they are using this spy scandal as a pretext, of course, a great number of people all over the world, literally, billions and probably tens of millions are now dependent on so-called alternative sources of information because the Western propaganda system is very afraid of losing its monopoly on information and  not being able to literally bring down with one single narrative which has no competition, so RT is perhaps the most known source of information of this kind  and it is quite effective actually in contradicting the official media outlets in the West.

READ MORE: UK Media Compete to Think Up Most Menacing Response to Russian Spy's Poisoning

Sputnik: Following Britain's threat to bar RT many experts and lawmakers actually said that this is a big problem for the concept of the free press in the UK, what are your thoughts on that and how would you assess the concept of the free press in the UK?

Andre Vltchek: There's a lot of problems, of course, with the open censorship, Britain has very draconian measures among other things, you can't really say as many things in Britain as you can in certain other parts of the West, so there's a lot of sanctions and regulations, and very tough penalties, also there's self-censorship in the British media and it is very clear that alternative news sources aren't always tolerated.

Sputnik: Last year RT was forced to register as a foreign agent in the US, it was a move that was welcomed by US lawmakers and allies, Russia introduced countermeasures and that announcement was harshly criticized, and overall we're seeing more and more of this requirement of foreign media to be registered as foreign agents in foreign countries, what do you think of this overall tendency?

READ MORE: Ofcom Considering May's Statement Regarding RT's Broadcasting in UK

Andre Vltchek: First thing, for media outlets like RT to be safe, foreign agents, foreign agencies that has a very negative connotation, it's almost like saying you guys are not journalists you are spies, you are working for your government you are not actually writing information, so it's part of the propaganda war and again the escalation coming from the West, in this case from the United States, in Russia it is tolerated because it is expected.

Sputnik: We have also the reaction of European leaders and US President Trump which have actually supported Theresa May in this ultimatum and demand for proof of innocence within a very short period of time, what can you say about the reaction of leaders around the world regarding this attack on Russia without due process?

READ MORE: Lavrov: Moscow to Respond on Skripal Case to UK in 10 Days if Receives Request

Andre Vltchek: We're not talking about leaders around the world we are talking about the greatest ally, in this case, the United States is the closest ally of Britain and in fact the entire foreign policy, again I wrote about this for the last year… The root of the foreign policy of the United States is still in Europe, I think that Britain it is particularly a very important designer of foreign policy, when the UK is actively engaged in some confrontation with Russia and the United States, in particular, President Trump comes to the rescue of Theresa May and supports her in this confrontational course, but if you look at the rest of the world there's not much condemnation coming from there, there's not much finger pointing coming from Beijing or New Delhi and other important parts of the world.

The views and opinions expressed by Andre Vltchek are those of the expert and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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