BRITISH broadcast regulator Ofcom has just slapped Russia Today (RT) with a six-figure £200,000 fine for allegedly breaching impartiality rules.
The fine comes before a pending Judicial Review and dwarfs fines imposed on media outlets that gave air to hate speeches.
Last December, Ofcom said that in seven instances over the year RT failed to adhere to the British impartiality rules when covering controversial issues like the Skripal poisoning case in the UK or the role played by the US in the war in Syria.
RT believes the decision to be wrong and has challenged it in court.
Last month, the London High Court allowed the case to proceed despite Ofcom claiming that RT’s case had no merit.
Yesterday, the regulator announced its decision to slap a £200,000 ($250,000) fine on RT as a sanction for the alleged 2018 violations.
The penalty seems ‘particularly inappropriate and disproportionate per Ofcom’s own track record,’ RT’s press service said in response.
RT has stated it was ‘wrong’ for Ofcom to fine the outlet £200,000 pounds without waiting for a court decision.
The broadcaster said: ‘It is very wrong for Ofcom to have issued a sanction against RT on the basis of its breach findings that are currently under Judicial Review by the High Court in London.
‘RT went to court over Ofcom’s December findings against our network because we believe that they were reached in a manner contrary to the law and were wrong.
‘Last month we received confirmation from a judge at a hearing in the High Court that, despite Ofcom’s opposition, our case against Ofcom should proceed.’
RT said it would continue to ‘contest the very legitimacy of the breach decisions themselves’ and remarked that it considered the fine ‘particularly inappropriate and disproportionate per Ofcom’s own track record’.
RT added that it was ‘considering further legal options’.