Does the UK have any laws (its own or EU-level) that require lobbying and propaganda paid by foreign sources to be disclosed as such? For example the US has the famous FARA (quoting Wikipedia's description thereof):

The Act requires periodic disclosure of all activities and finances by:

  • people and organizations that are under control of
    • a foreign government, or
    • of organizations or of persons outside of the United States ("foreign principal"),
  • if they act "at the order, request, or under the direction or control" (i.e. as "agents")
    • of this principal or
    • of persons who are "controlled or subsidized in major part" by this principal.

Organizations under such foreign control can include political agents, public relations counsel, publicity agents, information-service employees, political consultants, fundraisers or those who represent the foreign power before any agency or official of the United States government.

The law does not include news or press services not owned by the foreign principal. It also provides explicit exemptions for organizations engaged in "religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or of the fine arts," as well as for those "not serving predominantly a foreign interest."

Is there reasonably similar legislation in the UK?

2 Answers 2


Press TV lost its broadcast licence in the UK after the regulator (Ofcom) determined that was effectively being run from Tehran but not disclosed as such. It is a slightly corner case though.

  • "In the course of correspondence and meetings with Ofcom, statements made by Press TV Limited about the operation of the Licensed Service failed to satisfy Ofcom that the Licensee had general control over which programmes and other services were comprised in the Licensed Service." So it looks like any broadcasting controlled from abroad could have the same fate, subject to the regulator's interpretation. Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 21:18


As Michael Harris of Index on Censorship writes:

The activities of foreign governments and their proxies in the UK are entirely unregulated.

and further notes

the government’s consultation on a statutory register of lobbyists doesn’t even consider the option of FARA-style regulations.

That was in 2012, and while there is now the register of lobbists, set up by Parliament in 2014, it doesn't match the scope of FARA

  • in that it seems to apply only to "those seeking to lobby Ministers and Permanent Secretaries on behalf of a third party". I'm not sure what registration entails. Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 17:12

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