UK asks regulator to review Russian channel RT license

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Secretary Nadine Doris

by Muwija M and William James

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has asked the media regulator to review the broadcast license of Russian news channel RT after the Kremlin recognized two rebel zones in eastern Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.

According to a leaked letter to The Times newspaper, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries expressed concerns to the media regulator that RT is part of Moscow’s intelligence arsenal and will spread false news about the crisis in Ukraine.

Asked about the matter in parliament, Johnson said he believed Doris had asked the regulator, known as Ofcom, to review the license, but warned that The body should have space to make its own decisions.

“We live in a country that believes in freedom of expression,” Johnson told parliament. “And I think it’s important that we leave it to Ofcom, not politicians, to decide which media organizations should be banned – that’s what Russia does.”

RT hit back at previous criticisms of British politicians, saying they were trying to interfere in the affairs of a regulator that was supposed to be independent.

Russian officials say RT is a way for Moscow to compete with the dominance of US and UK-based global media companies, which they say offer a distinctive view of the world.

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