| 28 February 2024, Wednesday |

Canadian telecom firms block Russian state-owned broadcaster RT

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, major Canadian cable operators have said that they will remove Russian state-owned broadcaster RT from their channel lineup.

On Sunday, Rogers Communications and BCE Inc’s (BCE.TO) Bell said that RT would be removed from their systems. TELUS also announced that Telus Optik TV would be joining the movement through Twitter.

Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) said that subscribers who subscribed to RT as a pick-and-pay service will receive a credit in the following billing cycle.

A request for comment from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission was not immediately returned.

Bell was hailed by Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez for blocking RT, claiming that Russia was undertaking information warfare around the world. Rogers stated that he will replace RT with a broadcast of the Ukrainian flag.

“Putin’s regime’s propaganda arm, RT, disseminates disinformation. It has no place in this environment “Rodriguez continued.

RT and the news service Sputnik were both blacklisted by the European Union. The EU announced penalties against RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan last week, describing her as “a central figure” in Russian propaganda.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) prohibited RT and other channels from collecting money for ads on their websites, applications, and YouTube videos, similar to a step by Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O).

Russia’s efforts in Ukraine are referred to as a “special operation.”

Canada joined other countries in tightening sanctions against Russia, closing its airspace to Russian planes.

On Sunday, Transport Canada announced that Russian carrier Aeroflot (AFLT.MM) had broken the prohibition, and that the regulator will investigate the incident.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that sanctions on Russia would result in “significant costs for complicit Russian elites.”

Russian vodka and other Russian-made alcoholic beverages were taken from the shelves of liquor stores in a few Canadian provinces. On Friday, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, was also told to remove all Russian products.

  • Reuters