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Russia’s censorship agency threatens to block YouTube for deleting two RT channels

Source: RBC

Federal censor Roskomnadzor is threatening to block YouTube inside Russia unless the platform restores two German channels run by the state-controlled broadcaster RT (Russia Today). 

RBC reported on Wednesday, September 29, that Roskomnadzor sent a letter to Google “with a demand to remove as soon as possible all restrictions from the YouTube channels RT DE and Der Fehlende Part, owned by the Russian media Russia Today.” The letter also accuses Google of “violating the key principles of the free distribution of information and engaging in censorship,” RBC said. 

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan reported that YouTube had blocked two of the network’s German-language channels on Tuesday, September 28. In turn, she called on the Russian authorities to respond by blocking Deutsche Welle and other German broadcasters. 

Simonyan said that YouTube blocked the channels permanently without offering an explanation. Google’s press service later clarified that the channels were taken down for violating Youtube’s regulations on false information about the coronavirus and terms of use. 

In turn, Russian Foreign Ministry said it would encourage the federal government’s “appropriate agencies” to take “retaliatory measures” against YouTube and unspecified German media outlets.

Later, Roskomnadzor stated that Google could face fines of up to one million rubles ($13,735) if it refused to restore RT’s channels. The censorship agency also stressed that repeated failure to comply with its orders threatens even greater fines, up to three million rubles ($41,205).

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