Identities of 44 BBC reporters working in Russia are leaked online in tit-for-tat feud between Russia and UK over ‘biased’ reporting of Salisbury spy attack
- The names and photographs of 44 journalists working in Russia were revealed
- Last week broadcasting watchdog Ofcom announed RT could face sanctions
- State-run network RT faces fines or loss of license for alleged biased reporting
- In retaliation Russia announced the BBC would face investigation under its law
- The names of eight Russian reporters working for Sputnik were leaked last week
- The BBC leak is seen as a backlash from the Sputnik journalists leak last week
A list of 44 BBC reporters working in Russia has been published online amid a heated battle over the Russian state network’s reporting of the Salisbury spy poisoning.
The names and photographs of the journalists were posted to Russian social media site VKontakte by the anonymously-run For Mother Russia group, just days after the UK’s broadcasting monitor Ofcom ruled that state-run TV network RT violated impartiality rules.
Ofcom said last week the Russian network could face ‘statutory sanctions’, including possible fines or a loss of licence.
The names of 44 BBC journalists working in Russia were leaked on a Russian social media site this week
The ruling led Russia to announce it would launch an investigation into the BBC for breaching fairness standards under Russian media law for its reporting of the same incident.
In an intensification of the feud, the Sunday Times last week published a list of names and photographs of eight reporters working for the Moscow-backed Sputnik’s UK bureau in Edinburgh.
Russian officials blasted the newspaper over the leak, claiming it put the lives of the Sputnik journalists in danger.
And this week it emerged that the identities of 44 BBC reporters working in Russia had been identified in an apparent retaliation against the Sputnik leak.
The BBC leak comes after the UK broadcasting watchdog Ofcom announced Russia’s state-run network RT could face sanctions over its reporting of the Salisbury spy attack
In a post accompanying the leaked BBC employees, Mother For Russia claimed the Sunday Times leak had placed ‘psychological pressure’ in the Sputnik journalists working in the UK.
‘Combining several sources, we present you a list of fablers and dreamers from the Moscow bureau of the BBC,’ the post read.
A BBC spokesperson told the Guardian: ‘The BBC has strict editorial guidelines and has not published the details of journalists from other media organisations as there was no editorial reason or justification to do so.
‘We are disappointed at the groundless publication of our Moscow team’s details.’
It was not clear where the leak of Russian BBC reporters came from, although the information appears to have come from official documentation.
Most of the 44 reporters are Russian citizens who work for the BBC World Service, which has expanded its operations in Russia significantly in the past two years.