UK could ban RT to keep ‘one narrative’ – former British ambassador — Analysis
Former government officials have criticised the UK government. They also questioned the independence and impartiality of Ofcom, the media watchdog.
Peter Ford, a former British diplomat and Ken Livingstone, a former London mayor have defended RT’s news channel after it was suggested by the UK that it be closed down. “disinformation,” while media watchdog Ofcom said it won’t tolerate “one-sided propaganda.”
Ford, a former British Ambassador to Syria and Bahrain, and Livingstone, who served as the Mayor of London from 2000 to 2008, both spoke out against the apparent threats to withdraw the outlet’s license, as each joined RT in separate interviews on Wednesday evening.
“It’s appalling. The whole business is ridiculous,”Ford made the comment in response to recent news that Ofcom, the British regulator, is increasing its enforcement. “oversight”Ukraine coverage, and the threat that it will “not hesitate to take swift action where necessary.”
British regulator answers request to ban RT
Ofcom’s announcement followed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries had appealed to Ofcom to reconsider RT’s license.
“The government demands one narrative, not just on Ukraine, but all international affairs,”Ford claimed that British media are being sexist, and Ford retaliated. “totally one-sided” on Ukraine coverage and adding that he can’t bring himself to watch most networks, even as a former diplomat.
Ofcom, Ford alleged, is working on behalf of the British government and won’t be the “real decider” of RT’s fate. The government, according to the ex-ambassador, is not only “pretending to pass the buck to Ofcom.”Ford called the British regulator a “slap on the face”. “creature of the British state, staffed by figures of the British state.”
Livingstone later offered a similar analysis, accusing British media coverage of being biased and admitting that he has not seen what RT is like. “propaganda.”
“I watch RT every day – I have never seen propaganda,”Livingstone spoke out. He went on to contrast RT’s Ukraine coverage with that of the BBC, accusing the British state-funded outlet of not providing the perspective of the actual territories they are discussing, such as the Donbass.
People “aren’t being told the truth in this country,”The former London mayor added.
“I haven’t seen a single news program pointing out that these are substantial Russian communities,” Livingstone said, referring to the breakaway eastern Ukrainian Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics.
Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the Ukraine independence of the DPR as well as the LPR Monday. The move has led to economic sanctions from the US and the EU, which deny Putin’s claim of an impending attack by West-backed Kiev troops, and say the territories belong to Ukraine. While Kiev threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and dismissed western media’s narrative that a conflict was on the horizon, it also denied the existence of a complete-blown Russian war.