Hancock: Ofcom should decide RT licence question
March 15, 2018 10.59 Europe/London By Julian Clover
Culture secretary Matt Hancock has told the parliamentary culture committee that the future of Russian news channel RT should be decided by the regulator, and not the government.
On Tuesday, Ofcom said that if the UK investigating authorities determined that there was an unlawful use of force by Russia against the UK then that would be taken as part of their ongoing duty as to whether the channel was fit and proper to hold a licence.
Hancock was ostensibly before MPs to discuss fake news, but his appearance followed a statement in which prime minister Theresa May had said Russia was culpable for the nerve gas attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury.
“One of the other things that the prime minister said was that we must respond to this threat by Russia appropriate to our values, and one of our values is that politicians and the government doesn’t interfere and we have a settled position in parliament on how these things are regulated.”
Hancock said the government did consider there to have been unlawful action by the government against the UK and it was down to Ofcom as to how to react to that.