Mayor of London announces probe into whether Russia Today ads breached TfL policy

Sadiq Khan has asked Transport for London to "look again" at whether ads for Russia Today across the TfL network breached its policy.

The ads, which have appeared on the Tube in recent months, joke about alleged Russian hacking, and have come in for criticism from figures including Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.

In a question to the Mayor, Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon pointed out that TfL’s policy allowed it to refuse ads containing "images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy or sensitivity", and asked whether Khan agreed the ads should not have been permitted, particularly given the broadcaster’s funding by the Russian government.

In a written response, Khan stated: "I want to ensure that advertising on TfL’s estate is appropriate for all Londoners and that TfL acts responsibly as a media owner. All advertisements submitted to TfL are assessed against the TfL Advertising Policy and must meet strict criteria before being approved.

"RT is licensed to operate in the UK by Ofcom but, in light of the controversy surrounding RT, I have asked TfL to look again whether the ads could have breached the existing policy and if the advertising policy needs updating to address this kind of deliberately provocative advertising in the future."

Pidgeon also asked how much RT had paid for the ads, to which Khan replied: "RT recently commissioned three advertising campaigns on TfL’s estate. Whilst the amount paid is commercially sensitive, I can confirm that TfL’s standard ‘rate card’ value for the three campaigns is £310,000."

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