UK media regulator fines Latvian Russian-language TV channel

UK communications regulator Ofcom fined Baltic Media Alliance 20,000 pounds (23,000 euros) after receiving a complaint from the Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) regarding violations on the NTV Mir Baltic television channel broadcast by the company, according to the regulator on February 17.

The Ofcom investigation found that “that the programme failed to maintain due impartiality and had breached Rules 5.1, 5.11 and 5.12 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code,” said the press release.

The  rules violated   are as follows:

NTV Mir Baltic broadcasts to the Russian-speaking community in Latvia, and the program covered in the complaint was a news show called Today (Segodnya). The segment in question that was deemed to violate impartiality rules discussed the UK and Russian government actions regarding the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

“…there are lots of questions, and the inability of our British colleagues to answer them will mean only one thing – that all this is a fabrication and, to put it more directly, a gross provocation,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a clip.

Ofcom has found the TV channel to be in violation of the broadcasting code on six separate occasions since 2014. The NEPLP monitoring center has also previously found that the program Today doesn’t follow objectivity and precision guidelines and often discusses unfounded opinions or views. In this case the program only discussed the side of the story that the poisoning could be fake, as well as an aggressive provocation.

“Over the last years we’re increasingly finding that the Kremlin propaganda machinery operates throughout Europe using massive financial resources, legal nuances, and the aggressive violation of the basic principles of journalism,” said  NEPLP Deputy Chair Ivars Āboliņš  .

As previously  reported  , relations between Moscow and London seriously deteriorated after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former double agent, and his daughter, Yulia, in 2018 in Salisbury, UK.  


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