Ofcom have announced an investigation into broadcaster Russia Today for showing “bias” during their broadcasting.
Ofcom say that the broadcast of “anti-Western” views during a late-night discussion on Ukraine did not show the impartiality required by their Broadcasting Code.
Unfortunately, RT told the Intercept this morning that it was barred by Ocom regulations even from commenting on this new investigation. Not only are they being threatened for the crime of airing “anti-western views,” but they are prohibited by law from publicly discussing these threats.
That RT is “biased” is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far at all. It is expressly funded by the Russian government to present a Russian viewpoint of the world. But all media outlets composed of and run by human beings are “biased,” and that certainly includes the leading British outlets, which rail against Russia (and every other perceived adversary of the west) at least as much as RT defends it.
All of this underscores the propagandistic purpose of touting “media objectivity” versus “bias.” The former simply does not exist. Revealingly, it is British journalists themselves who are most vocal in demanding that Her Majesty’s Government bar RT from broadcasting on “bias” grounds: fathom how authoritarian a society must be if it gets its journalists to play the leading role in demanding that the state ban (or imprison) journalists it dislikes. So notably, the most vocal among the anti-RT crowd on the ground that it spreads lies and propaganda – such as Nick Cohen and Oliver Kamm – were also the most aggressive peddlers of the pro-UK-government conspiracy theories and lies that led to the Iraq War.
That people like this, with their histories of pro-government propaganda, are the ones demanding punishment of RT for “bias” tells you all you need to know about what is really at play here. What’s really driving this is illustrated by the encyclical issued today by one of the High Priests of U.S. Foreign Policy, Brookings President and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott:
This is about nothing more than ensuring that western citizens are not exposed to the side of The Enemy. Notably, Ofcom previously revoked the license of PressTV, the state-run television agency of Iran, after first fining it £100,000 for an interview with an imprisoned journalist which was said to be coerced. Western countries love to depict citizens of their long list of adversaries as being propagandized – whether it be China, Iran, Russia, North Korea, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Syria, Venezuela Ecuador, etc. etc. – even as they themselves work in all sorts of ways to ban their own citizens from exposure to those adversaries’ views, such as when a U.S. court imprisoned a Muslim American for years for the “crime” of including a Hezbollah channel in the cable TV package he sold in Brooklyn (of course, these purported concerns about propaganda and a free press magically and tellingly disappear when the suppression is done by regimes compliant with the U.S. and its allies).
Purporting to compel media “objectivity” is always about imposing a very specific and subjective agenda masquerading as impartiality. The chair of Ofcom is Colette Bowe, who was previously the chief information officer at the Department of Trade and Industry as well as a board member of Morgan Stanley and Electra Private Equity. She is also “a former executive chairman of Fleming Fund Management, chief executive of the Personal Investment Authority, and a director of the Securities and Investment Board.” Does anyone belief her concept of “objectivity” and “impartiality” will be anything other than the prevailing conventional wisdom and orthodoxies of the British elite?
The UK Government loves to lecture the world about infringements of liberty generally and press freedom specifically. It does so as it threatens to revoke the broadcasting license of a media outlet for broadcasting “anti-western” views and other perspectives at odds with the UK Government, all while shielding (and venerating) the equally virulent biases from pro-state television in the UK. That is the classic hallmark of how a government propagandizes its citizens: ensuring that they hear only those views of which the government approves and which serves its interests and agenda.
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