State-backed Russian television station Russia Today (RT) has been accused of trying to prevent the fracking industry in a bid to protect its own interests in the gas industry.
A complaint to Ofcom was made by energy company Cuadrilla, accusing RT – which launched a dedicated UK TV channel in 2014 – of scaremongering when it comes to its reports on fracking in Britain.
According to The Times, Cuadrilla believes it’s all in aid of Russia maintaining its position as a leading provider of imported gas to Europe.
“RT’s broadcasts on UK shale gas frequently have no factual basis and seem designed to instil fear in the public,” said Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla.
“One assumes RT would prefer the UK and Europe to rely on poorly regulated imports of gas, primarily from Russia, rather than taking control of our own energy future.”
RT reports on fracking in the past have heavily featured anti- fracking campaigners attacking the technology. Its presenters have in the past said “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles” and suggested that fracking is giving British children cancer.
For its part, Cuadrilla has a vested interest in trying to prove the benefits of fracking, given it has been pushing to extract shale gas in Lancashire
RT has defended its coverage while a spokesman for Ofcom said: “We take robust action against broadcasters who break our rules. We have made clear to RT that non-compliance is unacceptable.”