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RT given Ofcom red card over news coverage

Moscow-based news channel RT will have to broadcast on-air corrections after Ofcom found the channel was guilty of breaching UK broadcasting rules over coverage of events in Ukraine and in Syria.

Last year, RT reported that the BBC had staged a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime in Syria and that the Ukrainian government was involved in killing its citizens.

Following an investigation by Ofcom, it found the channel mislead viewers.  In its latest Broadcast Bulletin, Ofcom said that the broadcast rules do not
"prevent a broadcaster from making serious allegations of wrongdoing about organisations and individuals; nor does it prevent broadcasters from making programmes about controversial subject matters. Indeed, it is crucial that broadcasters have the editorial freedom to do so. However, in broadcasting such programmes and making such allegations, licensees are required to ensure they comply with the applicable rules.... These include the obligation to ensure that facts are not misrepresented in a way which materially misleads the audience ..."

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and funded via the Kremlin, says it's "shocked" by the decision. The channel has been subject to a number of controversies since it begin broadcasting a service to the UK and regularly features in Ofcom's investigations list against broadcasters licensed in the UK.

In total, Ofcom found RT guilty of breaching rules on three occasions in its latest Broadcast Bulletin. RT was additionally found not guilty regarding instances of scheduling and due impartially/bias relating to shows broadcast on the 20th August 2014 and 27th March 2015.


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