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Russia To Amend Law In Order To Fine British Media


Critics say the Kremlin-funded RT TV station is a propaganda arm of the Russian state.

Russia's media regulator says it will amend existing legislation in order to impose fines on British and other foreign media organizations working in Russia for breaking impartiality standards in retaliation for London fining Russia's RT TV channel.

Last month, Russian authorities warned British media operating in the country that they should be prepared for consequences after British regulator Ofcom fined the Moscow-financed RT television channel for breaching impartiality rules.

Ofcom fined RT $242,000 for what it said were unbalanced broadcasts over the conflict in Syria, Ukraine's policies on Nazism, and the poisoning in England of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

Moscow has said that Ofcom's move was part of "an anti-Russian campaign," while RT called the fine "very wrong."

Critics say RT, which broadcasts news in English, Arabic and Spanish, is a propaganda arm of the Russian state.

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor said in a statement on August 1 that it was now taking steps to "mirror" the British move.

"... Roskomnadzor has repeatedly said it would rely on the principle of reciprocity in the case of discriminatory attitudes towards Russian media abroad," it said in a statement.

Amendments would be soon introduced in the State Duma allowing it to apply the same standards that Britain had used in the RT case to British and other foreign media operating on Russian territory, it said.

The Duma is dominated by the ruling United Russia party, and legislation supported by the Kremlin is swiftly approved.

Roskomnadzor said it had opened a communications channel with Ofcom for consultations on the issue. However, an Ofcom spokesperson said, "These are entirely matters for Roskomnadzor."

With reporting by Reuters
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