Starmer calls for crackdown on RT’s Kremlin ‘propaganda’ amid Ukraine crisis

Ofcom said it will not hesitate to act if broadcasters fail to observe “due impartiality” in their coverage of the crisis.


roadcast watchdog Ofcom is facing calls to crackdown on the Kremlin-backed TV station, RT, following the latest Russian escalation in the Ukraine crisis.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for action to tackle the “propaganda” put out by the channel, formerly known as Russian Today, describing it as part of Vladimir Putin’s “campaign of misinformation”.

In response, the regulator said that, given the seriousness of events in Ukraine, it was ready to act “as a priority” if concerns were raised about the accuracy or impartiality of any broadcaster.

“All licensees must observe Ofcom’s rules, including due accuracy and due impartiality. If broadcasters break those rules we will not hesitate to step in,” a spokesman said.

“Given the seriousness of the Ukraine crisis, we will examine complaints about any broadcaster’s coverage of these events as a priority.”

The warning comes after German regulators earlier this month banned the German-language version of RT there, saying it did not have the required broadcasting licence.

In the Commons, Sir Keir said it was time for wider action against the channel following Russia’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

“Putin’s campaign of misinformation should be tackled,” he told MPs. “Russia Today should be prevented from broadcasting its propaganda around the world.”

In response, RT deputy editor-in-chief Anna Belkina said: “Always a joy to see Western and particularly British politicians finally drop their hypocritical disguise in favour of open interference in institutions they touted as supposedly totally independent and wholly free from political pressure and interference.”

In 2019, Ofcom fined RT £200,000 for its failure to observe “due impartiality” in seven news and current affairs programmes, including its coverage of the war in Syria and the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

It said at the time: “Taken together, these breaches represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with our rules. We were particularly concerned by the frequency of RT’s rule-breaking over a relatively short period of time.

“The programmes were mostly in relation to major matters of political controversy and current public policy – namely the UK Government’s response to the events in Salisbury, and the Syrian conflict.”


  1. Nice to see a labour leader not entrenched in Putin’s rear end, and seeing the BS Russia are pumping out has nothing to do with journalism.

    • Evening Standard is owned by a very dubious Russian : “Baron” Evgeny Lebvedev; the son of Russian oligarch and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev.
      Ennobled by Boris; fuck knows why. I don’t know where his true sympathies lie. I suppose he might be kosher; but who knows?

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