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Media regulator revokes RT's licence to broadcast in the UK

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By Euronews
In this file photo taken on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, a car of Russian state-owned television station RT passes by the company's office in Moscow, Russia.
In this file photo taken on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, a car of Russian state-owned television station RT passes by the company's office in Moscow, Russia.   -   Copyright  Pavel Golovkin/AP Photo

Britain's media regulator Ofcom has revoked the broadcasting licence for Russia's state-backed RT news channel.

"Freedom of expression is something we guard fiercely in this country, and the bar for action on broadcasters is rightly set very high," said Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom's chief executive.

Ofcom is currently investigating 29 complaints about impartiality in RT's news and current affairs coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The channel has previously been fined £200,000 (€237,000) for breaches of impartiality rules.

"We have done so on the basis that we do not consider RT’s licensee, ANO TV Novosti, fit and proper to hold a UK broadcast licence," Ofcom said in a statement.

It added that it took into consideration a range of different factors when making their own decision about the licence: including RT’s Russian state funding and Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"We also note new laws in Russia which effectively criminalise any independent journalism that departs from the Russian state’s own news narrative, in particular in relation to the invasion of Ukraine," Ofcom said.

"We consider that given these constraints it appears impossible for RT to comply with the due impartiality rules of our Broadcasting Code in the circumstances."

The channel was already blocked by YouTube and off-air in the UK due to EU sanctions against it.