BERLIN—YouTube says it has shut down two German channels from Russian state broadcaster RT in a move focused on alleged COVID-19 misinformation, a decision that threatened retaliation from Russia on Wednesday.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, said the German arm of RT had received a “strike” for uploading content that violated YouTube’s standards over COVID-19 misinformation, and had to upload new videos to its channel as a result. was suspended from doing so.
Writing on the messaging app Telegram, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan called Germany’s move against Russia “a true media war”.
Referring to Germany’s main public television stations, Simonian said, “I wait for my native state to impose sanctions on Deutsche Welle and other German media in Russia without delay, as well as for the closure of the offices of the ARD and ZDF. I’m doing it.” “Not to mention the restrictions on YouTube.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov compared YouTube’s decision to censorship.
“There are indications that Russian laws have been violated, but rather broadly,” he said.
Asked whether he believes companies operating in other countries, such as YouTube in Germany, should comply with Russian laws, Peskov replied: “Of course – when it comes to infringing on the rights of our legal entities.” Also, comes our media outlets.”
The Russian foreign ministry said it would ask relevant government bodies to retaliate against German media and YouTube, adding that such a response was “not only justified, but necessary.”
Russia’s state communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, demanded that Google restore access to RT’s YouTube channels and threatened the platform with fines and sanctions if it failed to do so.
In Berlin, German government spokesman Stefan Seibert said the government had “heeded” YouTube’s decision.
“Since there are different accounts, especially on Russian channels, I want to say clearly that this is the decision of YouTube, and the German government, or representatives of the German government, have nothing to do with this decision,” Seibert told reporters. “So anyone who alleges that a conspiracy theory is being put together.”
“There is no reason for ‘retaliation’ against the German media operating in Russia,” he said. “Anyone who calls for such retaliation – from our point of view does not show good relations with freedom of the press.”
The German security services have stated that they consider the German service of RT to be the propaganda arm of the Russian state.
RT, formerly known as Russia Today, offers its German offering online but still lacks a license to broadcast via terrestrial or satellite signals in Germany.
Last month, Luxembourg rejected an application by RT for a license to distribute its German-language service via satellite. The country’s authorities concluded that Luxembourg was not the right jurisdiction to rule on the request because RT’s German service is based in Berlin and a significant portion of its workforce is in Germany.
by Geer Moulson
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times