The Russian Foreign Ministry has slammed Ofcom's decision to fine RT, saying that UK media operating in Russia should be ready to face the consequences of this step. According to the ministry, the regulator's decision was an instance of direct censorship.
"This is a new attempt by the British authorities to impose restrictions on Russian media working in the country, this time by using financial leverage", the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added that while Ofcom is preoccupied with fining RT, it is not interested in the disinformation being spread by British media.
"Such accusations are even more surprising considering that UK national media routinely distort facts … For some reason, systematic disinformation in UK media has never caught the regulator’s attention," the ministry noted.
Moscow is expecting an assessment of the watchdog's move from the UK Foreign Office special envoy on media freedom, Amal Clooney.
RT earlier reacted to Ofcom's move by saying that it was “wrong” to fine the news outlet prior to a court decision. The broadcaster said it would continue to "contest the very legitimacy of the breach decisions themselves" adding that it was "considering further legal options".
We have fined RT £200,000 for serious failures to comply with our broadcasting rules – and required the channel to broadcast a summary of our findings to its viewers: https://t.co/PevBEbeAAE— Ofcom (@Ofcom) July 26, 2019
RT Battle with Ofcom
In December 2018, British authorities launched 7 investigations into the RT broadcaster amid calls for RT's license to be revoked in the country.
The British Office of Communications, commonly known as Ofcom, claimed that the broadcaster broke the rules, "failing to preserve due impartiality" in 7 news programmes on the poisoning of ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury as well as on the conflict in Syria, aired in March and April 2018.
RT has commented on the matter saying it was disappointed in the Ofcom ruling, adding that the regulator had ignored its arguments which raised doubts about the impartiality of the regulator itself. RT said in January that it would challenge the Ofcom ruling against it, noting all of its programmes were in line with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.