Russian media watchdog launches probe into BBC World News channel

Russia’s media watchdog has launched an investigation into the BBC’s websites and World News channel over alleged violations of Russian law.

The move comes the day after the UK regulator Ofcom warned it was considering sanctions against the Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT for breaching impartiality rules.

The Tass news agency reported that Roskomnadzor was now mounting an inquiry to establish whether BBC content available in Russia complied with the law there.

RT logo
The UK regulator warned it was considering sanctions against RT (PA)

In a statement, the watchdog said: “Roskomnadzor is launching a probe into the BBC World News channel broadcasting programmes in Russia, as well as into the BBC’s websites, in order to figure out whether their content is consistent with Russian laws.”

The BBC said that it operated in Russia in “full compliance” with the laws of the country.

“As everywhere else in the world, the BBC works in Russia in full compliance with the country’s laws and regulations to deliver independent news and information to its audiences,” a spokesman said.

On Thursday, Ofcom found that the RT news channel, formerly Russia Today, failed to be impartial in seven news and current affairs programmes over a six-week period up to May.

The programmes were mostly about the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and the conflict in Syria.

The UK regulator said it was “minded to consider imposing a statutory sanction” on RT, which could include the broadcaster being fined or even having its licence revoked.

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