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    Ofcom finds RT in breach of due impartiality rules Archived Message

    Posted by Ian M on July 19, 2022, 2:45 pm

    Not sure if I can take credit for this or not...


    Ofcom finds RT in breach of due impartiality rules
    TV and on-demand

    Ofcom has today found that RTís news and current affairs coverage in the wake of Russiaís invasion of Ukraine breached due impartiality rules on 29 occasions in four days (PDF, 3.5 MB).

    When dealing with major matters such as wars or areas of conflict (in these cases, specifically the ongoing conflict in the Donbas region), all Ofcom licensees must comply with the special impartiality requirements in our Broadcasting Code. These rules require broadcasters to take additional steps to preserve due impartiality Ė namely by including and giving due weight to a wide range of significant views.

    News programmes must be able to report on controversial issues and take a position on those issues, even if that position is highly critical. But due impartiality requirements in broadcasting are particularly important in situations where events are changing quickly and potentially harmful disinformation is available online.

    Our investigations

    We launched 29 investigations into RT following complaints from viewers and Ofcomís own monitoring of the channel. Our investigations looked at the due impartiality of 15 RT News bulletins on 27 February 2022, 12 on 1 March 2022, and one on 2 March 2022 as well as the documentary Donbass Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow which was repeated across 1 and 2 March 2022.

    In each case, we found that RTís coverage failed to preserve due impartiality in relation to the conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine. Ofcom considers that these breaches were serious and repeated, and we are minded to consider them for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

    Licence revocation

    RT is no longer broadcasting in the UK. On 18 March 2022, Ofcom revoked RTís broadcast licence on the basis that we did not consider RTís licensee, ANO TV Novosti, fit and proper to hold it.


    The first thing you see when you click through to the 525 page pdf link is:

    'In Breach

    RT News, RT, 27 February 2022, various times
    RT News, RT, 1 March 2022, various times
    RT News, RT, 2 March 2022, 09:00
    Donbass Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, RT, 1 and 2 March 2022, various times.'

    In other words there were 4 alleged breaches, not 29, because the news reports were broadcast throughout the day on the hour every hour. Their excuse is that there were slight changes so each had to be considered separately:

    'Given the 15 programmes contained similar content broadcast on the same channel and on the same day, these general considerations apply to all the investigations. However, despite containing some similar content, each programme was a standalone news bulletin reporting events which evolved throughout the day. Therefore we have considered each programme individually and reached a Decision in relation to each individual news bulletin.' - pp.2-3

    I've only skim-read the allegations so far but they seem to involve a lack of 'balance' by countering Russian claims with statements from the Ukrainian govt or military. As if this standard is ever applied to UK media when reporting on the wars of the UK state. Anybody remember hearing 'now let's hear from Saddam Hussein/the Taliban/Muammar Gaddafi/Bashar al-Assad to get the other side of the story' at the end of every news [sic] report describing the western assaults on those countries? Or, more to the point, how about getting comments from Russian officials at every piece of black propaganda that has come from Zelensky or the Ukraine state? Thought not.

    The BBC would be taken off the air in 5 minutes if Ofcom were to apply these standards consistently.


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