RT broadcasts suspended on Rock as Govt tightens visa rules for Russians
Satellite and cable TV providers in Gibraltar have suspended broadcasting services from Russian news channel Russia Today [RT], a day after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.
The move, which followed a request from Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, was one of several measures announced by the Gibraltar Government on Friday including new rules requiring all Russian nationals to have visas to enter Gibraltar.
Britain this week accused RT of being a tool of a Kremlin disinformation campaign and asked the UK media regulator to take action if needed. Other European countries have also increased pressure on RT in recent days.
Russian officials say RT is a way for Moscow to compete with the dominance of global media companies based in the United States and Britain that Moscow says offer a partial view of the world.
Critics say RT, which broadcasts news in English, Arabic, Spanish and German, is the propaganda arm of the Russian state and aims to undermine confidence in Western institutions.
“The Government of Gibraltar has in recent years pursued a policy of non-engagement with Russia Today as a result of their well-known stance of acting as a mouthpiece for the Kremlin,” Mr Picardo said.
“Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine now means that Russia Today will become a dangerous source of disinformation that Gibraltar cannot accept on its networks.”
“I am grateful to Gibraltar’s satellite and cable TV providers for their timely support and corporation on this important matter.”
While satellite and cable TV providers in Gibraltar have stopped carrying the Russian channel, the move will have limited effect given RT broadcasts on the internet too.
The Gibraltar Government also published an amendment to directions under the Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Act, removing Russian nationals who are holders of valid multiple entry Schengen Visas from the list of persons who are authorised to enter and remain in Gibraltar for a limited period without the need for a valid entry permit.
That means Russian nationals will now require a valid visa to enter Gibraltar.
And in a symbolic move, the flag of Ukraine was flown over No.6 Convent Place as a sign of solidarity with the people of that country.
“Gibraltar condemns the unforgivable and unprecedented actions by Russia in the strongest of terms,” the Gibraltar Government said in a statement.
“Gibraltar’s thoughts and prayers are with the Government and people of Ukraine at this dark hour.”
The flag of Ukraine will be lowered on Monday.