Britain’s broadcast regulator has opened seven investigations into Russian state-owned RT television channel, citing an increase in potential violations of impartiality rules since the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter.
Ofcom, the media regulator, said the probes would determine whether RT owner TV Novosti is “fit and proper” to continue to hold a British broadcast license.
Ofcom said that until recently, TV Novosti’s “overall compliance record has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.” But Ofcom added it has seen a “significant increase in the number of programs on the RT service that warrant investigation.”
Britain has accused Russia of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a military-grade nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4, a charge Russia denies.
The Russian television channel maintains its editorial approach has been consistent since the poisoning.
“Our editorial approach has not changed since the events in Salisbury, and we will be directly addressing this matter with the regulator,” said RT spokeswoman Anna Belkina.
Separately, RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, acknowledged Britain’s investigation and joked the TV channel was not responsible for the death of Sergei Skripal’s cat.
The cat was put down after being found in Skripal’s home in southern England.