NEWS
21/05/2018 14:18 BST

Ofcom Announces Three New RT Investigations As Kremlin-Backed TV Channel Now Subject To 11 Probes

Watchdog announces three new probes.

MLADEN ANTONOV VIA GETTY IMAGES
RT formerly known as Russia Today is owned by TV Novosti.

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has opened three new investigations into Kremlin-backed TV channel RT, bringing the total number of probes to almost a dozen. 

A spokeswoman for the regulator said the further investigations – one regarding a segment on current affairs programme Crosstalk and two news broadcasts – are looking into “the due impartiality of news and current affairs programmes broadcast” on the channel.

RT is now subject to 11 investigations. 

Ofcom first announced it was investigating RT last month over its coverage of the Salisbury poisoning scandal involving former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. 

At the time, Ofcom said there has been a “significant increase” in the number of programmes on the RT service - formerly known as Russia Today - that “warrant investigation” as potential breaches of the Ofcom broadcasting code.

The programmes on RT being investigated include a show hosted by former MP George Galloway.

Following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that Labour MPs should no longer appear on RT.

The Labour MP said: “I think that’s right now and that’s what I’ll be doing... because what we’re seeing from Russia Today at times goes beyond objective journalism.”

He added: “I can understand why people have [appeared on RT] up until now because we have treated it like every other television station. We tried to be fair with them and as long as they abide by journalistic standards that are objective that’s fine but it looks as if they have gone beyond that line, so yes, we will have that discussion.”

After Ofcom announced the first round of investigation a spokesperson for RT said: “We are pleased to see that Ofcom has acknowledged RT’s compliance record has been in line with other broadcasters – putting to bed any of the salacious political statements and challenges made against our channel.

“Our editorial approach has not changed since the events in Salisbury, and we will be directly addressing this matter with the regulator.”