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Russian diplomat vows 'tough retaliation' over Ofcom’s RT investigations

This is yet another attempt at restricting the activity of Russian media in Britain, Maria Zakharova believes

MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/.Russia is going to make a tough response to the British media regulator Ofcom’s three newly-launched investigations of the television broadcaster RT, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the media on Wednesday.

"The response to this show and the outcome will be tough," she warned.

"We have taken note of the British media regulator Ofcom’s statement it had launched three new investigations of the television channel RT over alleged violations of the broadcasting code and license terms," she said. "The regulator did not bother to explain what its criticism of the RT programs’ content was all about, though."

"This is yet another attempt at restricting the activity of Russian media in Britain. The reason is obvious. Russian media publish facts that Britain finds annoying," Zakharova said.

Russia’s authorities concerned have already begun to scrutinize the content of British media publications represented in Russia."

"This is no choice of ours. We’ve never indulged in such activities," Zakharova said. "Whenever fake news was published or facts were distorted, we preferred to say so aloud in public, but never use the measures of the sort being taken against Russian media, including those by London, which leads the crusade against Russian media."

"We shall reply to this in the same style and fashion," Zakharova said.

Far-fetched criticism

The newly-announced investigations focus on two RT newscasts of April 26 and May 4 and one talk show, Crosstalk, of April 20. Ofcom said on its website investigations are launched if the regulator suspects the broadcaster or service provider is in breach of the regulator’s code, rules, license terms or other requirements.

Ofcom’s press-service said the regulator would look into whether the discussion of US policies in Syria in Crosstalk was balanced enough. As for the two newscasts Ofcom plans to scrutinize, one was devoted to nationalism, Nazism and the attitude to Gypsies in Ukraine, and the other, to fracking in Britain.

In the middle of April, Ofcom opened seven investigations against RT on the suspicion of bias in covering the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4. Since the moment of the Salisbury incident Britain has launched ten probes into RT’s content - as many as in the previous eleven years. If the probe launched late last year into the RT’s show hosted by the former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond is to be counted, the list of investigations will grow to eleven.

Earlier, the RT told TASS in London it had seen the Ofcom statement but not received an official notification yet.