GB News: ‘Let the British public decide!’ David Davis slams Ofcom over Russia Today
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In light of escalating tensions between the West and Russia due to the ongoing crisis on the Ukrainian border, politicians have called for Russia’s RT network to be banned for spreading misinformation. RT is a Russian state-controlled television network that is funded by the federal tax budget of the Russian government that broadcasts to over 100 countries.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries sent a letter to Ofcom saying that “it is essential that the UK looks to limit Russia’s ability to spread their propaganda at home”.
She added that RT “is demonstrably part of Russia’s global disinformation campaign” and noted that the channel would “look to spread harmful disinformation about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine here in the UK”.
On GB News, Dan Wootton asked Mr Davis if it was strictly necessary or right for RT to be pulled off the air.
Mr Davis said: “No we don’t.
“In as much as Ofcom do anything they probably should tell them that they have to label where their footage comes from.
“So, you were showing something earlier which was plainly from the Russian Ministry of Defence and should have that label on it.”
He continued: “Our public are pretty smart, they’re pretty sophisticated, they will look at this and say ‘well that is what the Russians think it may even give them an insight into literally how the Russians think’.”
Mr Davis suggested it was a benefit to see what the Russian perception is and to know what “we are dealing with, because the public are also making a judgement about our own Governments behaviour, and they want to make a decision.”
In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Keir Starmer said: “We must do more to defeat Putin’s campaign of lies and disinformation.
“Russia Today is his personal propaganda tool.
“I can see no reason why it should be allowed to continue to broadcast in this country.”
Boris responded, acknowledging that Ms Dorries has already contacted Ofcom, and said: “We live in a democracy Mr Speaker, and we live in a country that believes in free speech and I think it is important that we should leave it up to Ofcom rather than to politicians to decide which media organisations to ban – that’s what Russia does.”
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David Davis agreed with the Prime Minister saying: “I don’t like the idea of having a state censor after all that is what this argument is about at the end of the day. What’s this battle about?
“It’s about preserving freedom and democracy for Ukraine and in preserving freedom and democracy we throw away our own freedom of speech, our own freedom to see what we want? No, it doesn’t work.”
He concluded: “Let the British public decide, they’re smarter than most people think.”
Russia has already demonstrated retaliatory measures against German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle after Germany banned broadcasts from Russia Today.
The Russian foreign ministry has already said that they would not hesitate to take similar retaliatory steps against British journalists if Russian media is restricted in the UK.
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