RT, aka Russia Today, is a disgraceful propaganda tool for Vladimir Putin. But it shouldn't be banned – Scotsman comment
News channel RT, formerly Russia Today, is full of propaganda in aid of Vladimir Putin’s despotic regime, alongside more straightforward reports designed to provide a thin veneer of respectability.
But, for some people, this is enough to hide the fact that RT is part of Putin’s ‘hybrid warfare’ strategy against the liberal democracies of the West.
People like Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond, who has remained on the channel even as Putin has massed his troops on the Ukrainian border and repeatedly rattled a sabre encrusted with the blood of many innocent civilians in Syria and elsewhere.
While anyone with an ounce of sense or decency would have nothing whatsoever to do with such an organisation, Salmond does not appear to think he is particularly out of place and far be it for us to disagree.
However, his successor in Bute House, Nicola Sturgeon, has now added to the chorus of condemnation, saying she was “appalled” by Salmond’s continued presence on RT and joining calls for the channel to be banned in the UK.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has asked Ofcom to review RT’s broadcasts in the UK, saying it is “demonstrably part of Russia's global disinformation campaign” and that it is essential the UK “looks to limit Russia's ability to spread their propaganda”. Labour’s Keir Starmer has also said he can “see no reason why it should be allowed to continue to broadcast in this country”.
But, however appalling RT is, banning it could lead us down a dangerous road. Free speech is a fundamental democratic right and a free society needs to find a better antidote to Putin’s poison than state censorship.
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