Russia’s censorship agency is threatening to restrict access to YouTube after the video platform shut down yet another German-language channel run by the Russian state-controlled television network RT (Russia Today).
According to a Roskomnadzor press release published on Friday, December 17, the federal censor sent a letter to YouTube’s parent company, Google, demanding that it lift restrictions on RT auf Sendung and explain why the channel was blocked immediately after it came online on Thursday.
Roskomnadzor decried YouTube’s actions as an “act of censorship,” noting that this is prohibited under the Russian Constitution. The agency also recalled that under Russian law, YouTube could be deemed involved in human rights violations, added to a special registry, and issued a warning from Roskomnadzor.
“In the event that the owner of the resource fails to comply, the law provides for measures of partial or complete restriction of access, as well as administrative liability,” the agency added.
According to Roskomnadzor, YouTube has restricted access to Russian media outlets and their content 25 times since the start of 2020, allegedly targeting RT with blocks more often than others.
Commenting on the situation, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan called on the Russian authorities to ban Deutsche Welle and other major German news outlets. “I’m keeping quiet about sanctions against YouTube itself,” she added. In turn, Russia’s Foreign Ministry threatened to take “retaliatory measures” against YouTube and unspecified German media.
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