Commenting on Ofcom's move to investigate RT, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom has voiced concern that the "targeted" scrutinization directed at one particular news organization and regarding one particular issue would affect the freedom of speech in the country.
According to the embassy, the decision made by UK media watchdog Ofcom to probe RT's coverage, surrounding the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, "amounts to pressure" on the Russian-based broadcaster.
"Since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that we consider warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code," Ofcom claimed.
In its turn, the broadcaster has responded to the move by saying that editorial approach has not changed since the events in Salisbury, adding that it was "pleased to see that Ofcom has acknowledged RT’s compliance record has been in line with other broadcasters – putting to bed any of the salacious political statements and challenges made against our channel."
The decision comes after the British watchdog announced in March it was looking into the statement by UK Prime Minister Theresa May regarding the status of the RT broadcaster in the country after she had stated in the parliament that the future of the channel's broadcasting should be determined by "independent Ofcom" rather then by the UK government. The move has been slammed by the Russian Foreign Ministry as "clearly biased."
While the probe into the poisoning has been underway since March, earlier in April, the UK government expelled several Russian diplomats from the country. The US and other British allies, including most of those in the EU, followed the suit, which resulted in the expulsion of over 100 Russian diplomats from 25 countries. Moscow has slammed the move as unhelpful in the probe into the case and responded with a symmetrical move and expelled the exact number of foreign diplomats.