Morning Chronicle - Ottawa flags 'concerns' over Russian channel RT broadcasts

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Ottawa flags 'concerns' over Russian channel RT broadcasts
Ottawa flags 'concerns' over Russian channel RT broadcasts

Ottawa flags 'concerns' over Russian channel RT broadcasts

Canadian authorities expressed "concerns" on Saturday over the local broadcasting of state-funded Russian channel RT, which critics have long labeled a mouthpiece for the Kremlin.

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Regularly accused in the West of contributing to disinformation, RT is in the crosshairs of several European countries, with the heat on the channel amped up since Russia's invasion of Ukraine this week.

"I share the concerns of many Canadians about the presence of Russia Today in our broadcasting system," Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez tweeted.

"We're looking at all options," he added, amid growing calls in Canada to ban the channel.

While RT is currently on the list of non-Canadian programming services authorized for distribution, its broadcasting license is "a privilege that can be withdrawn," the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) warned in French-language outlet Le Devoir on Friday.

A ban on broadcasting can be imposed in case of failure to "present the news with accuracy and impartiality," the CRTC said.

Canada joins a slew of countries looking to restrict RT in recent weeks.

On Friday, Finland's main cable company said it was blocking RT broadcasts in solidarity with Ukraine.

The British government announced Wednesday it had asked media regulator Ofcom to review RT's UK broadcasting license.

At the beginning of February, Germany banned RT, which prompted Russia to close the Moscow bureau of German media outlet Deutsche-Welle.

In recent days, multiple major social media services, such as YouTube and Facebook, also said they would block certain Russian channels, including RT, from running ads and monetizing content on their platforms.

Launched in 2005 as Russia Today, RT has grown to include broadcasts and websites in multiple languages, including English, French, Spanish, German and Arabic.