MOSCOW, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Russia said on Friday that British media outlets operating in Russia "must be prepared to face the consequences" after the British media watchdog Ofcom fined RT news channel for alleged partiality.
"Once again, we are witnessing how the British authorities are trying in every way to limit the activities of the Russian media in the country," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, slamming Ofcom's penalty as an "act of direct censorship."
Earlier in the day, Ofcom said it had fined RT 200,000 pounds (about 249,000 U.S. dollars) as it "failed to preserve due impartiality" in seven news and current affairs programs between March 17 and April 26 in 2018 concerning major matters of political controversy and current public policy.
These matters included the British government's response to the alleged poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain's southwestern city of Salisbury, and the Syrian conflict, according to the Ofcom.
"It is astonishing that, in contrast, Ofcom sees RT's programs, which it thought should have presented more alternative points of view, as worthy of greater sanction than programs containing hate speech and incitement to violence," it added.
RT said Ofcom was wrong to have issued sanctions when an RT challenge of its findings was under Judicial Review by the High Court in London despite Ofcom's opposition.
The channel said that it continues to contest the very legitimacy of the claims and is considering further legal options.