Russia warns of blocking YouTube over platform’s suspension of RT TV’s German channel

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called YouTube's action as "censorship" and also said that the Russian laws were "grossly violated" by the suspension.
Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor said that it has written a letter to Google, which owns YouTube, demanding that the restrictions on the two channels be lifted.(Reuters)
Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor said that it has written a letter to Google, which owns YouTube, demanding that the restrictions on the two channels be lifted.(Reuters)
Published on Sep 29, 2021 10:14 PM IST
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Written by Srivatsan K C | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Russia on Wednesday said that the country would partially or fully block access to popular video streaming platform YouTube after the platform had suspended the Russian state-funded broadcaster RT's German channel from its website. The Kremlin said that the decision by YouTube to suspend RT's German channel was a breach of Russian law, according to several news reports.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called YouTube's action as "censorship" and also said that the Russian laws were "grossly violated" by the suspension. "There are signs that the laws of the Russian Federation have been violated, and violated very grossly. This is associated with censorship and with obstruction to the dissemination of information in the media," news agency AFP quoted him as saying. "We should not rule out the possibility of taking measures to force this platform to comply with our laws. There must be zero tolerance for such violations," he added.

Also read | YouTube expands policy to crack down on anti-vaccine content

The Kremlin's comments came after YouTube on Tuesday suspended two channels of RT German, alleging that the channel uploaded content which violated the platform's guidelines on Covid-19 misinformation. It was suspended from uploading any new content, however, RT tried to circumvent this restriction by using another YouTube channel, an action because of which both channels were terminated, YouTube had said. "During this suspension, RT DE tried to circumvent this restriction by using another YouTube channel to upload its videos," the Associated Press quoted YouTube as saying.

Following the termination, RT's chief editor Margarita Simonyan wrote on the Russian messaging platform Telegram, calling the move a "true media war by Germany on Russia. "I'm looking forward to my native state banning Deutsche Welle and other German media in Russia without delay, as well as close the offices of ARD and ZDF," the Associated Press quoted Simonyan as saying.

Also, Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor said that it has written a letter to Google, which owns YouTube, demanding that the restrictions on the two channels be lifted, according to a news report by AFP. It has also said that YouTube could be provided a warning and the access to the platform could be partially or fully restricted if it ignored the warnings.

Meanwhile, the German government has said that it was not involved in the actions taken by YouTube. "It is a decision by YouTube, based on rules created by YouTube, it is not a measure (taken by) the German government or other official organizations," Reuters quoted German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert as saying.

(With agency inputs)

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Thursday, December 02, 2021