New reactions by media regulatory authorities to the crisis in Ukraine

by Eric Munch (Observer) posted on 07 March, 2022   (public)

NRAs communicate the EU regulation and decision to ban RT and Sputnik to stakeholders, some extend ban further

Following the initial article published by the EPRA Secretariat on 1 March reporting on the measures that some media regulators had undertaken with regard to the coverage of the crisis in Ukraine and especially relating to services originating in Russia or Russian state-controlled services, the situation has evolved and more NRAs have now taken action.

Summary of the previous article: After the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, NRAs from Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries rapidly took measures to suspend the retransmission of several Russian channels, while UK regulator Ofcom launched a series of investigations into the due impartiality of news programmes on RT (UK) and the Slovak CBR offered support and legal interpretations to national broadcasters who were considering the suspension of those programmes.

Since then, more NRAs have taken measures to restrict the broadcasting of services originating in Russia or Russian state-controlled services.


Measures taken by NRAs within the EU

Some regulators who had already taken measures on the basis of Article 3(3) of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive have extended their restrictions to further channels:

On 1 March, the Bulgarian regulator CEM announced the decision to restrict retransmission of RT and Sputnik, following Ursula von der Leyen's announcement that measures would be taken at EU level to prohibit their broadcasting.

On 2 March, a Regulation (2022/350) and a Decision (2022/351) by the Council of the European Union effectively banning RT (and its subsidiaries) and Sputnik based on Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) came into force. On the same day, ERGA published an announcement stating that it “stands united and is committed to contribute to the swift and effective implementation of the measures by all stakeholders”. Many NRAs from EU member states who had not taken any prior measures to suspend the retransmission of programmes have now publicly communicated the EU regulation and decision, and reminded players that these instruments are of immediate and direct application.

The following NRAs have done so on their website:

On 3 March, the Slovak Ministry of Culture announced that by the time the EU regulation and decision came into force, all major national operators had already suspended the retransmission of RT, after Slovak regulator CBR had offered to assist any such operators with legal interpretations surrounding the matter.


Measures taken by NRAs outside the EU

In addition to 15 investigations into the due impartiality of news programmes on RT UK, UK regulator Ofcom announced on 2 March that it had launched a further 12 investigations into RT programmes. The results of these investigations will determine if RT should retain a UK licence.

In Moldova, on 2 March, the Committee for Extraordinary Situations of the Republic of Moldova issued a decision providing the suspension of programmes originally produced in countries that did not ratify the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, with the exception of films and entertainment programmes (and EU, US and Canadian programmes). On 4 March, the Moldovan regulator, the Audiovisual Council announced that it had fined media services provider "Exclusiv Media", founder of television channel "NTV Moldova" for repeated violations of Article 13 of the Code of Audiovisual Media Services relating to its coverage of the war in Ukraine and its depiction of the Ukrainian President.

Source: EPRA Secretariat

See also