17:11 GMT12 July 2020
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    Russian Ambassador explains why the possibility of cancellation of the broadcasting license for the RT television channel has left British public space.

    "Two talking points have left the British press. The first one to leave was that RT would be closed. Prior to this, the topic was very actively promulgated. This follows a now widely known statement by Russian MFA spokeswoman Maria Zakharova about what would happen if RT were to be closed. First of all, they [the British side] don't like what is discussed on RT, although people watch it with great pleasure and, if I recall correctly, RT is on second place in terms of popularity after the BBC. Naturally, this is very annoying for British officials, because there are other points of view. So, after Zakharova's speech, this topic was quietly removed," Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko said.

    The diplomat also emphasized that after the embassy sent the note and a request for explanations as to threats from Britain about organizing a cyber attack against the Russian Federation, "this issue has also gone to naught, and now no parliamentarian and no member of the government has spoken out on this issue."

    Earlier, the British media controller Ofcom admitted the possibility of depriving the Russian broadcasting company of its broadcasting license in the country if British authorities came to the conclusion that Russia was behind the poisoning of ex-officer of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Sergey Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

    READ MORE: UK Media Go Wild as Russian Flag at London Embassy Taken Down for Cleaning

    Despite the adversarial relationship between the countries, journalists must not be captives to the current situation and must be allowed to freely continue fulfilling their professional duties, the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom and Ireland (NUJ) Michelle Stanistreet said.

    "The NUJ believes it is important that we send a strong message to reaffirm our position that, whatever the geopolitical dynamics now or in the future, it is vital that journalists are free to go about their work without fear of interference or reprisals," Stanistreet said in a letter to her Russian counterpart.

    Stanistreet has emphasized that the work of journalists, including the Russian ones, "should not be politicised or dragged into prospective sanctions," regarding her expectation that the Russian side would share this belief with respect to UK journalists.

    "Ensuring that journalists and media workers are able to work freely, without interference or becoming casualties of any crackdowns on press freedom is, I am sure, a shared principle of both our unions," she stressed.

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

    Earlier, several UK parliament members called on the government to force restrictive measures on RT, including the revocation of its broadcasting license in the country, in the wake of Skripal's poisoning attack. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, speaking about the threat, in turn, assumed that Russia would adopt similar measures with respect to the UK media in the country if RT was deprived of its license in the United Kingdom.


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    foreign agent, measures, press, Ofcom, RT, BBC, Maria Zakharova, Margarita Simonyan, Alexander Yakovenko, Russia, United Kingdom
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