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CRTC removes Russian state-controlled TV network RT from allowed list

“It is a privilege and not a right to be broadcast in Canada”

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The television channel RT, formerly known as Russia Today, was removed on Wednesday from the list of programming services and stations authorized by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

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The broadcasting regulator said in a statement that it was “concerned about programming from a foreign country that seeks to undermine another country’s sovereignty, demean Canadians of a particular ethnic background, and undermine the democratic institutions in Canada”.

Some operators had already voluntarily taken down the Russian state-controlled international television network, which has been authorized for distribution since 2009, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month.

The CRTC launched a public consultation on March 3.

“Free speech and a range of perspectives are integral to our democracy. However, it is a privilege and not a right to be broadcast in Canada,” said Ian Scott, President and CEO of the CRTC. “Foreign channels may be removed from the authorized list if their programming does not meet the standards to which Canadian services are held, or if their continued distribution no longer serves the public interest, as was the case for RT and RT France.”

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Television service providers, such as cable and satellite television companies, are permitted to distribute foreign television services to provide Canadians with a wide range of views and voices, but these services are not permitted like Canadian services, the CRTC said.

In the statement, the Council said it had determined that continued authorization to distribute RT and the French channel RT France “is not in the public interest” and that “RT’s programming is not does not conform to the standards against which Canadian services are measured or to the policy objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act.”

The regulator said it took into account factors including allegations in documents provided to it, reports on the situation in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and Russian individuals, and ‘quick action’ taken by other jurisdictions, including the European Union and Australia, to withdraw the Services.

The CRTC said it received a total of 373 interventions, including 350 in favor of removing RT from the Canadian airwaves and 16 in favor of keeping it.

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