Russia Today, 21 August 2011, 13:01 and 14:06
The Diplomacy of Defence|
Russia Today, 5 February 2012, 17:30
Russia Today is a global news and current affairs channel produced in Russia, and funded by the Russia Government. In the UK, the channel broadcasts on the Sky satellite platform. The licence for Russia Today is held by TV Novosti.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to two separate news items, featuring the reporter Lizzie Phelan, which the complainant considered were not duly accurate or duly impartial. In summary, the complainant said that Lizzie Phelan made claims that…the [Libyan] rebels obviously lack any popular support and her report was not a factual news report .
Ofcom provided several examples. Eg in the news item broadcast on 21 August 2011 at 12:01, Lizzie Phelan said the following about the NATO air attacks:
This is all part of the strategy to create mass panic and mass confusion here, because NATO has obviously failed in its military strategy to create a military solution here and so instead what we are seeing is a massive psychological operation going on to try and weaken the Libyan Government in that way .
Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 5.1 of the Code, which states:
Rule 5.1: News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality .
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 5.1
After a long report Ofcom concluded:
In this case, it is clear that viewers were presented only with viewpoints supportive of the Russian Government’s policy on this particular matter of political controversy and matter relating to current public policy (NATO missile deployment in Eastern Europe), thus denying viewers some knowledge of crucial alternative viewpoints on this issue. Therefore, in our view, to record a breach of Rule 5.5 would not be a disproportionate infringement of the Licensee’s right to freedom of expression. Ofcom therefore considered The Diplomacy of Defence breached Rule 5.5 of the Code.