News channel RT faces UK ban

RT is backed by the Russian government.
RT is backed by the Russian government. Photo credit: Getty

Britain's media regulator has opened seven investigations into whether Russian news channel RT broke impartiality rules in broadcasts made since a Russian double-agent was poisoned in the English city of Salisbury.

The regulator Ofcom had warned that RT producer TV Novosti could lose its right to broadcast in Britain if it failed its "fit and proper" test.

"Until recently, TV Novosti's overall compliance record has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters," Ofcom said on Wednesday.

"However, since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programs on the RT service that warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code."

The outcome of the investigations and the future conduct of the licensee would inform its fit and proper assessment, it said.

Russia's foreign ministry has warned UK media will be expelled if Britain shuts down RT, short for Russia Today.

Britain has said Russia was behind last month's attack that left ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in a critical condition in hospital. Russia has denied involvement in the poisoning.

RT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.