EU Bans Russia-Backed Outlets RT, Sputnik

RT (formerly Russia Today) is no longer welcome in the European Union. (Image credit: Russia Today)

The European Union has extended its sanctions on Russia to state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik.

The move was in response to Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine, a conflict that the country says has already cost over 2,000 civilian lives in less than a week of fighting — the U.N estimate is in the hundreds.

The European Council said Wednesday that given Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine,” Sputnik and RT broadcasts were suspended in the EU (RT English, RT UK, RT Germany, RT France, and RT Spanish).

Also: DirecTV Drops Russia‘s State-Owned RT Channel

The EU said the suspension lasts “until the Russian Federation and its associated outlets cease to conduct disinformation and information manipulation actions against the EU and its member states,” which it calls an operational tool in Russia’s attack and a “direct threat to the Union's public order and security.” The EU says both outlets are under either direct of indirect control of the Russian Federation.

Also: NAB Urges Broadcasters to Drop Russian State-Sponsored Content

DirecTV has dropped RT America, though Dish Network still shows up on RT’s website as a distributor of the network, which has offices in Moscow and Washington, D.C.

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are all blocking the Web version of RT, though the channel tweeted defiantly that it was still “alive and kicking.”

In 2017, the U.S. government required RT America to register as a foreign agent.  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.