Newsreader quits Russia Today ‘propaganda’ channel on ‘principle’ amid Ukraine invasion
A newsreader has quit the Kremlin-backed RT channel following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Kevin Owen, who has previously fronted news broadcasts for BBC Wales and HTV Wales said he resigned “on principle”.
He has worked for RT, which was formerly known as Russia Today, for more than 15 years, after joining the Russian Government-funded channel in 2006.
“I resigned on principle,” the newsreader told WalesOnline. “I will very much miss the vast amount of very talented and kind colleagues and management who I had the pleasure of working with over many years.”
He resigned from his post as the main news anchor on the state-owned Russian news network on Monday. He said he has notified his employers of his intention to quit the role
Owen was awarded the prize of ‘News Anchor of the Year’ by the channel in 2008.
Broadcast regulator Ofcom has announced that it has launched 15 separate investigations into RT because of its news coverage of the war in Ukraine.
It has repeatedly echoed President Putin’s narrative of the invasion and has consistently referred to the invasion as a “special military operation”.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Culture Minister Tom Giffard MS has written to Ofcom to add his party’s voice to the chorus of criticising RT,
He accused the broadcaster of spreading disinformation, and being a “propaganda tool” for President Putin.
‘Scale and gravity’
Ofcom’s Chief Executive Dame Melanie Dawes said: “Given the scale and gravity of the crisis in Ukraine, audiences expect to be able to trust and rely on duly impartial broadcast news.
“When reporting on an armed conflict, we recognise it can be difficult for broadcasters to verify information and events, but it is imperative that they make every effort to do so. They must also explain clearly to audiences where there is uncertainty or where events are disputed.
“Supporting a fair and free media is central to Ofcom’s work. We take this responsibility – and our duty to protect audiences and uphold trust in news – extremely seriously. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of our approach and fundamental to our democracy.
“Given the serious on-going situation in Ukraine, we will be concluding our investigations into RT as a matter of urgency.”
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