RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said that all the company’s accounts in the UK have been blocked.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The RT broadcaster’s accounts have been blocked in the United Kingdom, Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said Monday, suggesting that the move stifles free speech.
“Our accounts in the UK have been closed. All Accounts. ‘The decision is not subject to revision’. Long live freedom of speech!” Simonyan said in a Twitter post.
Нам закрыли счета в Британии. Все счета. 'Решение пересмотру не подлежит'. Да здравствует свобода слова!
— Маргарита Симоньян (@M_Simonyan) October 17, 2016
The bank provided no explanation for the decision.
“We have recently undertaken a review of your banking arrangements with us and reached the conclusion that we will no longer provide these facilities,” NatWest said in a letter to RT’s London office.
The bank said that the entire Royal Bank of Scotland Group, of which NatWest is part of, would refuse to service RT.
The letter said the decision was final and that it is “not prepared to enter into any discussion in relation to it.”
Commenting on the development, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said it indicated that “Britain on its way out of the EU abandoned all its commitments to protect the freedom of speech.”
“It seems more than a coincidence that this has taken place at a time when the anti-Russian propaganda has been ramped up to unprecedented levels,” writer John Wight told RT. “This reflects the extent to which the West is losing the information war. RT plays a key role in challenging the narrative of the West and Western media when it comes to events in Ukraine, Syria and the Middle East.”
The British government indeed considers RT to be a major security threat, according to a report it gave to the parliament in September. The cabinet’s plan to counter it, as stated to MPs, is to encourage “greater alignment between policy and communications divisions” of NATO structures as well as pumping more money into BBC World Service.