03 March 2022

Russia accuses BBC of ‘playing role undermining Russian stability and security’

03 March 2022

Russia has accused the BBC of playing a “determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the banning of Russian media RT and Sputnik, claiming the world was being deprived of Russia’s point of view and Western media was only giving one side.

Her comments came hours after calls from UK Government figures to ban the Kremlin-backed state broadcaster.

According to a translation from RT, Ms Zakharova said the only reason Russian journalists could still work in the UK was “related to London fears that (the) BBC might be targeted in Russia because it plays a determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security”.

She said: “We haven’t invented that because it stems from the statement by the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.”

Responding to her comments, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “You know the PM’s spoken before about the importance of an independent press and the fact that it’s important that the BBC is editorially independent and can continue to do the excellent work that they do.”

It comes as UK watchdog Ofcom opened 27 investigations into the “due impartiality” of programmes broadcast on RT news channel, formerly known as Russia Today.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said RT should lose its licence and “never again” be able to broadcast “poisonous propaganda”.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss warned on Monday that the BBC risked being banned in Russia if RT was shut down in the UK.

She said a “careful judgment” was required as retaliatory action against the BBC would harm efforts to ensure Russians “hear the truth” about the invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia tweeted: “#Zakharova: Over the past few days, the real rather than the declared merit of the so-called Western values has become crystal clear.

“What is happening now in the information landscape is actually depriving Russia of any opportunity to convey its point of view.”

The BBC has seen a surge in the Russian language service being used following the Ukraine invasion.

The year-to-date weekly average audience for the broadcaster’s Russian language news website has more than tripled, according to the corporation.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.

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