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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Defend RT!

THE RUSSIA TODAY news channel was forced off the air this week by the Johnson government in a move that follows similar measures against Russian media outlets throughout Western Europe. Although still available online, the Russian television station can now no longer be accessed on any of our TV platforms. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries says “the Russian dictator will now find it harder to spread his disinformation and lies” but banning RT is, in reality, a sign of weakness by the bourgeoisie that have taken us to the brink of all-out war in Europe over Ukraine.

Now European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has decided to ban RT across the European Union. But Europe’s largest association of journalists has, quite rightly, blasted the move. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), which represents 320,000 journalists across Europe, has called the European Commission President’s decision “counterproductive” and questioned her right to make it.

EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez said: “This act of censorship can have a totally counterproductive effect on the citizens who follow the banned media. It is always better to counteract the disinformation of propagandist or allegedly propagandist media by exposing their factual errors or bad journalism, by demonstrating their lack of financial or operational independence, by highlighting their loyalty to government interests and their disregard for the public interest.” He added that the EU had no right to grant or withdraw broadcasting licences, which was the “exclusive competence of (individual) states”.

RT was never a major player on the British scene. Its niche UK audience was put at around 2.5 million viewers compared with the 6.4 million prime-time viewers claimed by the American CNN, Fox and MSNBC stations, and way behind the immense reach of the BBC and the other mainstream TV channels. But the fact that RT is seen as a threat to the war propaganda of the British government and the EU shows what little confidence they themselves have in the credibility of the nonsense their own media is churning out at the moment.