Russia Today ad campaign hits London

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Russia Today posters. Credit: John Thalassites.

Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today (RT) placed an advert in Cazenove as part of a six-week campaign involving more than 300 adverts around London.  

RT paid TfL an estimated £300,000 to display 278 advertisements across London between 9th October and 5th November this year, an FOI request to the taxpayer-funded body revealed.

“Missed the bus? Lost a vote? Blame it on us!” reads one incendiary poster deployed in the RT campaign spotted on Cazenove Road.

Another poster elsewhere in the borough baits Western institutions, telling viewers to “Watch RT and find out who we are planning to hack next!”

RT has been criticised for breaching journalistic code by the UK’s broadcast watchdog Ofcom, which alleges that the Putin-sponsored news channel has misled viewers over conflicts in Syria and Ukraine – two countries in which there has been Russian involvement.

Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson called on City Hall and the Advertising Standards Authority “to take action to stop ads like this appearing in future.”

He said: “Russia Today is the propaganda arm of the Russian State – a state which has been linked to cyberattacks and interference with  elections. And the channel has repeatedly breached Ofcom’s impartiality rules.”

Responding to the campaign, former Tory minister, Richard Benyon, accused TfL of “subsidising Putin’s mouthpiece”, claiming that the broadcaster is “not a serious news or current affairs channel.”

George Galloway, former Labour MP and Mayoral candidate, however, dismissed the “current McCarthyite hysteria” surrounding RT’s operations.

He said: “I don’t see why RT should be denied the advertising and marketing rights available to all other broadcasters and publishers.”