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Canadian telecom firms block Russian state-owned broadcaster RT

Canadian telecom firms block Russian state-owned broadcaster RT

Vehicles of Russian state-controlled broadcaster Russia Today (RT) are seen near the Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, Jun 15, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/Files

Major Canadian cable operators have said they would drop Russian state-owned broadcaster RT from their channel line-up in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Rogers Communications and BCE's Bell said on Sunday (Feb 27) that RT would no longer be available on their systems. TELUS also tweeted that Telus Optik TV was joining the move.

Shaw Communications removed RT effective from Monday, saying users who subscribed to RT as a pick and pay service would receive a credit in the next billing cycle.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission did not immediately respond to request for a comment.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez praised Bell for restricting RT, saying Russia had been conducting information warfare across the world. Rogers would replace RT with a broadcast of the Ukrainian flag, he said.

"RT is the propaganda arm of Putin's regime that spreads disinformation. It has no place here," Rodriguez added.

The European Union also banned RT and news agency Sputnik. Last week, the bloc unveiled sanctions on RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, calling her "a central figure" of Russian propaganda.

Alphabet's Google on Saturday barred RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook owner Meta Platforms, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".

Canada joined other countries by ramping up sanctions on Moscow, shutting its airspace to Russian aircraft.

Transport Canada said on Sunday that Russian airline Aeroflot had violated the ban and the regulator would launch a review into the incident.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said sanctions against Russia would impose "severe costs on complicit Russian elites".

Liquor stores in a few Canadian provinces removed Russian vodka and other Russian made alcoholic drinks from their shelves. Canada's most populous province, also directed the Liquor Control Board Of Ontario on Friday to withdraw all Russian products.

Source: Reuters/fh

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