UK intensifies crackdown against Russian media

EMERGENCY DIGEST- The UK is forcing social media, internet service providers and app stores to block content from state-sponsored Russian media outlets – RT and Sputnik news agency. “For too long RT and Sputnik have churned out dangerous nonsense dressed up as serious news to justify Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” Tech and Digital Economy Minister Chris Philp said on Wednesday.

“These outlets have already been booted off the airwaves in Britain and we’ve barred anyone from doing business with them. Now we’ve moved to pull the plug on their websites, social media accounts and apps to further stop the spread of their lies.”

In March, Britain’s media regulator, Ofcom, revoked RT’s broadcasting license. The EU decided to ban RT from broadcasting the same month. RT Deputy Editor-in-Chief Anna Belkina said at the time that Ofcom revoked the license for “purely political reasons tied directly to the situation in Ukraine.” She said that the regulator “falsely judged RT to not be ‘fit and proper’ and in doing so robbed the UK public of access to information.”

The UK also blacklisted the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), which operates Russia-1 and Russia-24 TV channels, among others. The UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) accused the broadcaster of playing “a key role in justifying Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.”

Sanctions were also imposed on InfoRos and the SouthFront news websites. The FCDO accused them of spreading “destabilizing disinformation.”

 

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