A handful of Canadian television providers have announced that they are pulling Russian state-controlled channel RT from their lineups in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez took to Twitter and thanked each telecommunications company that has removed the channel, calling it the “the propaganda arm of Putin’s regime that spreads disinformation.”
As of Monday, Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw are no longer carrying RT.
I commend Bell for removing RT. Russia has been conducting warfare in Ukraine since 2014 and information warfare across the world. RT is the propaganda arm of Putin’s regime that spreads disinformation. It has no place here. I’ll have more to say very soon. #cdnpoli
— Pablo Rodriguez (@pablorodriguez) February 28, 2022
The four companies took to Twitter to announce their decisions. This comes after Rodriguez tweeted that the federal government was concerned about RT being available on broadcast systems and that they were looking at all options.
We have made the decision that effective tomorrow, Russia Today will no longer be available on our channel lineup.
— Rogers News (@AboutRogers) February 28, 2022
Formerly known as Russia Today, the international television network is funded by the tax budget of the Russian government. They also provide internet content in numerous languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic and Russian.
The television network is commonly described as a propaganda outlet that spreads disinformation for the Russian government. Reporters Without Borders, an international non-profit that aims to protect the right to freedom of information, denounced the channel, calling it “another step of the state to control information.”
Shaw communications has advised that its customers who subscribe to RT will receive a credit in the next billing cycle.
Effective tomorrow, Shaw will no longer be carrying Russia Today. Customers who subscribe to RT as a pick and pay service will receive a credit in the next billing cycle.
— Shaw Communications (@ShawInfo) February 28, 2022
This is just another step that telecommunications companies have taken to support Ukraine. Last week, Canadian phone companies announced that they are waiving long-distance charges to Ukraine so that families in Canada can connect with their loved ones.
Media companies online are also trying to hit Russia where it hurts. On Saturday, YouTube also showed its support for Ukraine by barring Russian accounts from profiting off streams.
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Over the weekend, thousands of people demonstrated across Canada demanding justice for Ukraine. A sea of blue and yellow flags rallied in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Yonge-Dundas and Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.