COMMENT ON OFCOM’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE 26TH JULY 2019 ISSUING A £200,000 PENALTY TO RT
It is very wrong for Ofcom to have issued a sanction against RT on the basis of its breach findings that are currently under Judicial Review by the High Court in London. RT went to court over Ofcom’s December findings against our network because we believe that they were reached in a manner contrary to the law and were wrong. Last month we received confirmation from a judge at a hearing in the High Court that, despite Ofcom's opposition, our case against Ofcom should proceed.
And while we continue to contest the very legitimacy of the breach decisions themselves, we find the scale of proposed penalty to be particularly inappropriate and disproportionate per Ofcom’s own track record. It is notable that cases that involved hate speech and incitement to violence have been subject to substantially lower fines. It is astonishing that, in contrast, Ofcom sees RT's programmes – which it thought should have presented more alternative points of view – as worthy of greater sanction than programmes containing hate speech and incitement to violence.
We are duly considering further legal options.