UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom found that RT’s news and current affairs coverage following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine breached impartiality rules 29 times in four days.
When dealing with major issues such as wars or conflict zones (in these cases, in particular the ongoing conflict in the Donbass region), all Ofcom licensees must comply with the particular impartiality requirements of its broadcasting code. These rules require broadcasters to take additional steps to maintain the required impartiality, including including and giving due weight to a wide range of material opinions.
News programs must be able to report on controversial issues and take a position on those issues, even if that position is very critical. But broadcast impartiality requirements are particularly important in situations where events are changing rapidly and potentially harmful misinformation is available online.
Ofcom has launched 29 investigations into RT following complaints from viewers and Ofcom’s monitoring of the channel. His investigations focused on the due impartiality of 15 RT News bulletins from February 27, 2022, 12 from March 1, 2022 and one from March 2, 2022 as well as the documentary The Donbass yesterday, today and tomorrow which was repeated on March 1 and 2, 2022.
In each case, Ofcom found that RT’s coverage failed to maintain the required impartiality of the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region. Ofcom considers these breaches to be serious and repeated, and is prepared to consider them for the imposition of a legal sanction.
RT no longer broadcasts in the UK. On March 18, 2022, Ofcom revoked RT’s broadcast license on the grounds that it did not consider RT’s licensee, ANO TV Novosti, fit and proper to hold it.