EU bans RT, Sputnik over Ukraine disinformation

Illustration shows RT app
RT app is seen on a smartphone in front of their logo in this illustration taken February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BRUSSELS, March 2 (Reuters) - Russian state-controlled media outlets RT and Sputnik will be banned in the European Union with immediate effect for systematic disinformation over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the 27-country bloc said on Wednesday in an unprecedented move.

The sanction means EU operators will be prohibited from broadcasting, facilitating or otherwise contributing to the dissemination of any RT and Sputnik content.

Broadcasting licences or authorisation, transmission and distribution arrangements between the two companies and their EU counterparts will also be suspended.

The ban applies to RT's English unit and operations in Britain, Germany, France and Spain.

"Systematic information manipulation and disinformation by the Kremlin is applied as an operational tool in its assault on Ukraine," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement. "It is also a significant and direct threat to the Union's public order and security."

Facebook owner Meta (FB.O), Alphabet Inc's Google (GOOGL.O), YouTube and TikTok are already blocking access to RT and Sputnik in the EU. Twitter (TWTR.N) has said it will comply with the EU ban.

(This story was refiled to remove extra word from headline)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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