Kremlin-controlled RT blocked from UK homes after EU bans channel over 'Putin propaganda'

Kremlin-controlled RT blocked from UK homes after EU bans channel over 'Putin propaganda'
RT appears to be no longer available to view in the UK via Sky, Freesat or Freeview's digital television platforms after the EU imposed sanctions on the satellite companies.
2 min read
TV channel Russia Today has been cut from UK screens [Getty]

Russian TV channel RT - formerly known as Russia Today - has been cut from UK screens days after an EU-wide ban on the Kremlin-owned broadcaster.

The 24/7 English language channel - which claims to have 700 million viewers worldwide - is no longer available to viewers in the UK via Sky, Freesat or Freeview's digital television platforms.

While the UK is not a member of the EU, the bloc applied sanctions to a company based in Luxembourg and France that provides the feed to Sky, Freesat, and Freeview.

UK regulator Ofcom are currently investigating RT over a possible breaching of broadcasting standards on impartiality issues.

RT  - often described as a Kremlin mouthpiece - has come under fire for its biased coverage of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24 February.

"As part of a concerted effort... Russia Today is no longer streamed into British homes, either by TV, Sky, Freesat or Freeview," UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries told the House of Commons on Thursday, describing RT as Russian President "Putin's polluting propaganda machine".

The New Arab contacted Ofcom, who confirmed the ban on the live feed means that RT is no longer on UK airwaves.

Live Story

Ofcom on Wednesday opened 12 investigations "into the due impartiality of programmes" on RT, in addition to 15 investigations on Monday.

Dorris stated during her speech that she hoped the investigations would "result in the removal of Russia Today's licence so that they're never again able... to broadcast their propaganda into the UK".

RT said on Thursday it "long stopped expecting any legitimacy or reason in Britain's attempts to curtail media freedoms" in a statement to Reuters.

"Now it seems it has forgotten Brexit and is seeking to force influence over the rest of Europe," Anna Belkina, the channel's deputy editor in chief, said.

European Union President Ursula von Der Leyen said the 27-member bloc would ban the channel following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian authorities say at least 2,000 civilians have been killed since Moscow's offensive began.