The ban on Russian state-backed TV channel RT has spread to Canada.
According to a new report from The Globe and Mail, major Canadian TV providers — including Bell, Rogers, Shaw, and Telus — have pulled Russian state television network RT from their output, they announced separately Sunday.
“We have made the decision that effective today Russia Today will no longer be available on our channel lineup,” cable and telecom giant Rogers Communications, which is currently merging with rival Shaw Communications, said in a statement. Cable giant Bell also confirmed that it had removed RT from its TV lineup on Sunday.
VMedia, a provider of TV and telecom services, also said it had replaced RT on its lineup with Ukraine 24, the 24/7 TV news channel. “…Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is an attack on freedom everywhere, and the suffering it is inflicting on the Ukrainian people must be communicated accurately to the world,” Alexei Tchernobrivets, president and CEO of VMedia, said in a statement.
On Monday, federal heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez praised Shaw Communications as the latest domestic cable player to ban RT from its lineup. “Thank you to Shaw for also removing RT from its network. We must all do our part to fight back against Russia’s propaganda,” Rodriguez said.
The move by Canadian cable TV giants against RT was expected after the CRTC, the country’s TV and telecom regulator, on Friday signalled it would consider pulling RT from the list of foreign media services listed for authorized distribution in Canada.
The move to take the station off the airwaves came days after Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking the biggest security crisis in Europe since the Cold War ended. The Russian broadcaster is widely regarded as a megaphone for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government and has been available on a number of Canadian platforms.