SPECTRUM DROPS RT CITING PIVOT AWAY FROM LEASED ACCESS; COMCAST DROPS RT CITING “MCCAIN AMENDMENT”
MOSCOW, 15 OCTOBER, 2018—RT America is no longer available on Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) and Comcast Chicago, following the companies’ refusal to renew RT’s broadcast agreement.
After a partnership spanning over 10 years, Spectrum, previously Time Warner Cable, has ended its relationship with RT.
In an email to RT, a Charter Communications (the parent company of Spectrum) representative said: “Our decision [to not renew the agreement] is part of an overall strategy to discontinuing our leased access program in light of the development of the Internet, which has rendered leased access irrelevant.” Their spokesperson elaborated, stating: “Charter has long believed that mandatory leased access violates our free speech rights. Going forward, we will scale back leased access programming where permissible.”
“RT has not been able to independently corroborate this information through industry sources, and there is no public information available indicating that any other channel has been dropped by Charter Communications due to this apparent strategy shift,” RT Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Head of Communications Anna Belkina said.
RT America also received a letter from Comcast Chicago stating that it would not renew its lease agreement with the channel on the basis of Section 1093 of the National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment, originally submitted by the late Senator John McCain in 2017, says a distributor working in a US jurisdiction “may not be directly or indirectly required” to carry video content that is “is owned, controlled, or financed (in whole or in part) by the Government of the Russian Federation.”
“RT’s journalistic operations continue to be adversely impacted by politically-motivated discriminatory measures, setting a dangerous precedent for freedom of speech everywhere,” Belkina added.
RT’s programming continues to be widely available throughout the US – on DirecTV, Roku, Dish Network, and Comcast Seattle, San Francisco and Central California, as well as online 24/7.