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Welsh Conservatives criticise Putin ‘propaganda’ channel that paid Tory Minister thousands

01 Mar 2022 3 minute read
David TC Davies speaking in Westminster Hall

The Welsh Conservatives have taken aim at a Putin “propaganda” channel that paid a Tory Minister thousands of pounds.

The party’s Shadow Culture Minister Tom Giffard MS has written to Ofcom to add his party’s voice to the chorus of criticising Kremlin-backed RT’s place on the airwaves following the unprovoked attack by Russia on Ukraine.

David TC Davies, a minister in the UK Government’s Wales Office, received a total of £3,000 plus travel costs for appearing four times on Russian state-controlled international television network, which was previously called Russia Today, between December and September in 2017.

Giffard has written to Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom CEO, to “regarding the operation and reporting of the RT News channel in the UK”.

He accused the broadcaster, which is funded by the Russian state, of spreading disinformation, and being a “propaganda tool” for President Putin.

He also highlighted the repeated breaches of the Broadcasting Code by the channel: in 2019 RT were fined £200,000 for “a serious breach” of impartiality rules regarding reports on the Salisbury poisoning and the war in Syria.

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”.

‘RT fails’ 

Welsh Conservative and Shadow Culture Minister Tom Giffard MS said: “At a time of war, it is important that facts are reported in an even-handed manner. Any unbiased observer can see that RT fails to do this on every level.

“Make no mistake, Russia is responsible for this war, and for the deaths of the innocent people caught up in it. But RT tries to cloud this completely and spin the Kremlin’s narrative instead.

“RT is the propaganda arm of a barbaric dictator that lures useful idiots, cynical opportunities, and fifth columnists to parrot the lines of a corrupt and morally bankrupt Russian regime.

“After countless breaches of the broadcasting code and its obvious bias towards Putin’s regime, it is clear that it has no place on our screens.”

David TC Davies has previously said that he did not regret appearing on RT’s Sam Delaney’s News Thing.

Speaking to the Guardian he said: “The News Thing has given me a fair chance to explain my opinions on Brexit immigration and transgender issues, for which I am grateful.

“Sadly, I have not received the same courtesy from the British Broadcasting Corporation. Instead, on several occasions, its highly paid presenters have criticised me by name without giving me a right of response.”

‘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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hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago

Hey, taking £3k in fees for appearing on TV shows is small potatoes compared to the cad Cairns’ proliferation of 2nd jobs. And it all goes back to 2017 when loads of politicians of all shades were queuing up for a spot on RT shows. Minor offence compared to some of the other dirtbags.

Ceramike
Ceramike
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Small potatoes maybe in comparison to others who have deliberately milked every opportunity to make a quick buck. Nonetheless it should now have become abundantly clear to even David TC Davies that appearing on a channel that is the mouthpiece for dictatorial leader and his corrupt state should be avoided at all costs.
His justifications for doing so ring somewhat hollow and some may even refer now to the honourable gentleman as a quisling and traitor.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago
Reply to  Ceramike

You might say that about the BBC, Boris’s BS Corporation. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

A bit late in the day to call out Russian state media. I am in my mid 60’s, and as far back as I can remember, Russian state media has produced Russian state propaganda, right from the first time I ever heard the name Pravda, nothing has changed, but the UK still let them have a broadcast permit for UK airtime.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago

If you want to know just how corrupt these Tories have become check out the Russian oil tanker Ariel. On it’s way with a full load of oil to the USA it turned round halfway across the Atlantic and sat outside Milford Haven before docking there. Seems the owners were worried about US sanctions but look to have managed a deal wth Westminster.

Rob
Rob
6 months ago

I’m not a fan of David Davies nor am I defending the hypocrisy of the Tories, but one has to question why Russian businessess are facing boycotts yet a state run pro-Putin channel is still on our airwaves.

Grayham Jones
6 months ago

It’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
6 months ago

Utter hypocrisy. A very large number of Tory MPs including Simon Hart took Kremlin money. The Tory Party itself was bought by the Kremlin — with more than £13MM of documented / public record donations. The Tory Party became part of the Kremlin propaganda machine, every bit as much as RT.

Last edited 6 months ago by Cai Wogan Jones
Dai Rob
Dai Rob
6 months ago

Dont want to spoil the Party but Sion Jobbins, representing Yes Cymru appeared on RT a few years back! No idea if he/they were paid for this!
Just saying…..

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

“appearing” is one thing….. Selling your soul is another.

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago

We are judged by the company we keep…….the Tories associate with the Russian mafiosi.

Mawkernewek
6 months ago

How important do you think it really is, in the 2020s, when almost everyone has internet access, whether RT appears on the Freeview TV guide? The discussion around this often seems to me be taking place in an imaginary world about 30 years ago, before most people had ever accessed the World Wide Web. All it would do if it was taken off, is perhaps double the fairly small number of people tuning into GB News, which it is only a couple of rows away from in the electronic program guide. If it does happen, perhaps its slot could be… Read more »

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