Press TV, London
With the conflict raging between Russia and Ukraine, the west has been quick to levy sanctions and other penalties on Moscow but eyebrows have been raised after Britain’s political establishment publicly targeted Russia’s flagship media outlet in the country. There are now concerns over whether the industry regulator will follow existing media law or bow to political pressure.
As the crisis escalates it is the role of the media that has become increasingly crucial. In Britain’s parliament, the leader of the opposition labour party Keir Starmer waded into the discussion with a controversial position: "Russia Today is his personal propaganda tool. I can see no reason why it should be allowed to continue to broadcast in this country. So will the prime minister now ask Ofcom to review its licence?"
It’s not the first time RT has been targeted but long gone are the days of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appearing on the channel, Starmer is keen to stake his anti-Russian credentials.
Russia and the West are both acutely aware that the media battle is as important as the armed conflict. By attempting to silence Russian media here in the United Kingdom, the British establishment is simply continuing a long-held tradition of censorship.
Though it has not publicly commented on whether there will be a probe, Ofcom’s impartiality has already come under scrutiny and observers are urging caution and for them to abide by media rules, not political pressure.
As calls ring out for calm heads and de-escalation to prevail in the current crisis, media observers hope the people at home and abroad can hear a plurality of media voices to help shape their views.