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Russian channel RT asks UK regulator to reconsider license

Secretary Nadine Doris

By Movieja M and William James

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he had asked Britain’s media regulator to reconsider the Russian news channel RT’s broadcasting license after the Kremlin recognized two rebel strongholds in eastern Ukraine.

Culture Secretary Nadine Doris, in a letter to The Times, expressed concern to the media regulator that the RT was part of Moscow’s intelligence arsenal and would spread misinformation about the crisis in Ukraine.

When asked about the matter in Parliament, Johnson said he believed Doris had asked a regulator called Ofcom to reconsider the license, but warned that the body should have room to make its own decisions.

“We live in a country that believes in freedom of speech,” Johnson told parliament. “I think it’s important to leave it to Ofcom, not the politicians, to decide which media companies should be banned – that’s what Russia does.”

The RT responded to earlier criticisms by British politicians that they seemed to be trying to interfere in the affairs of a regulator who was supposed to be independent.

Russian officials say the RT is a way for Moscow to compete with the dominance of global media outlets based in the United States and the United Kingdom, which they say provide a particular perspective on the world.

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