The BBC said on Friday it worked in full compliance with Russia’s laws and regulations to deliver independent news after the country’s media regulator said it would carry out checks on the British broadcaster in an escalation of tensions.
Russia’s media regulator said it would carry out checks to determine if the BBC World News channel and BBC internet sites complied with Russian law, a move it described as a response to British pressure on a Russian TV channel.
“As everywhere else in the world, the BBC works in Russia in full compliance with the country’s laws and regulations to deliver independent news and information to its audiences,” said a spokeswoman for the British publicly owned broadcaster.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian regulator, was responding to Britain’s media regulator, Ofcom, which said on Thursday that Russian broadcaster, RT, had broken impartiality rules in news and current affairs programmes.
This including coverage of the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
“The results of our check will be announced separately,” the Russian regulator said.
The BBC or Ofcom said on Thursday it was considering imposing some kind of sanction on RT, which is financed by the Russian state.
Britain has accused agents working for Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, of committing the crime, an allegation Moscow denies.
British Media Secretary, Jeremy Wright, also weighed in on Thursday, saying what he called RT’s mask as an impartial news provider was slipping.
RT rejected Ofcom’s findings, saying Ofcom had ignored its explanations and not paid “due regard” to its rights.
Commenting on the launch of the Russian investigation on Friday, Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, said on Twitter that Ofcom had hinted that it planned to strip her channel of its broadcasting license in Britain.
“(Welcome to the) brave new world,” she wrote.
“I assume they (the Russian regulator) will now look to see if the BBC expresses alternative points of view. With a microscope.”
Russian state media has criticised the BBC in recent days, accusing it of trying to falsely prove that Moscow was involved in whipping up street protests in France, a charge that Russia rejects.