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Margarita Simonyan calls for Russia to ban German media after YouTube blocks ‘RT Deutsch’

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said on Tuesday, September 28, that YouTube blocked RT Deutsch (RT DE), the German edition of the Russian state-controlled television network.

In a post on Telegram, Simonyan wrote that YouTube blocked RT Deutsch’s channel permanently, without offering an explanation. She also called the incident “a real media war declared by Germany against Russia,” though she didn’t specify what the German authorities have to do with YouTube’s decision. 

“I really look forward to the fact that my native state will, without delay, ban Deutsche Welle and other German media outlets in Russia, and close the bureaus of [German broadcasters] ARD and ZDF. I’m keeping quiet about sanctions against YouTube itself. Though we should do this, out of self-respect,” Simonyan added.

Trying to access the RT Deutsch YouTube channel brings up an error message that says the account was blocked for violating the platform’s community guidelines.

Update: YouTube took down RT Deutsch’s channel for violating regulations concerning false information about the coronavirus, Google’s press service told Interfax. “RT DE was issued a warning for uploading content that violates our rules on false information about COVID-19. This led to a suspension of their rights to publish videos. During the period of the suspension, the channel’s owners tried to bypass the restrictions by using another channel; as a result, both channels were shut down for violating YouTube’s terms of use,” Google’s spokespeople explained.
Another update: Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it will encourage “the appropriate agencies” in Russia’s federal government to adopt “retaliatory measures” against YouTube and unspecified German media outlets. Moscow also accused YouTube of committing “an act of unprecedented information aggression” and providing “overt and tacit support” to the German state.

On September 27, YouTube banned content that casts doubt on the results of Germany’s recent elections through “false claims about widespread fraud.” Whether or not RT Deutsch was blocked in connection with this decision remains unclear.

Russia adopted its own “foreign agent” legislation as a “retaliatory measure” after RT was forced to register as a “foreign agent” in the United States. 

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