Update on investigations into the RT news channel

20 December 2018

Ofcom has today found that the RT news channel broke broadcasting rules by failing to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes over a six-week period.

Earlier this year, Ofcom launched a number of investigations into RT to determine whether certain programmes broadcast on the channel had complied with broadcasting rules requiring due impartiality.

Having examined the programmes and all available evidence, including written and oral representations made by RT, we have concluded that the following seven programmes, which aired between 17 March 2018 and 26 April, broke due impartiality rules:

  • Sputnik, RT, 17 March 2018, 19:30;
  • News, RT, 18 March 2018, 08:00;
  • Sputnik, RT, 7 April 2018, 19:30;
  • Crosstalk, RT, 13 April 2018, 20:30;
  • Crosstalk, RT, 16 April 2018, 20:30;
  • Crosstalk, RT, 20 April 2018, 08:30; and
  • News, RT, 26 April 2018, 08:00.

Three further programmes were found not in breach of our due impartiality rules.1

Taken together, the seven breaches represent a serious failure of compliance with our broadcasting rules. We have told RT that we are minded to consider imposing a statutory sanction. The broadcaster now has an opportunity to make representations to us, which we will consider before proceeding further.2

Our decisions are set out in full in Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin issue number 369 (PDF, 2.2 MB).


  1. Our investigations found the following three programmes did not break broadcasting rules:
    • News, RT, 30 March 2018, 18:00;
    • Worlds Apart, RT, 1 April 2018, 23:00; and
    • News, RT, 4 May 2018, 08:00.
  2. If, after consideration of the RT’s further representations, Ofcom decides to consider these breaches for sanction, Ofcom will follow the process set out in our published Ofcom’s  procedures for statutory sanctions (PDF, 189.7 KB) in broadcast cases.