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Moscow to shut down Deutsche Welle’s operations in Russia in response Germany’s broadcast ban on RT Deutsch

The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced retaliatory measures in response to Germany banning broadcasting of RT DE (formerly RT Deutsch), the German-language channel run by the Russian state-controlled television network RT (Russia Today).

In a statement released on Thursday, February 3, the Foreign Ministry said that Moscow will halt satellite and all other broadcasting of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in Russia, cancel the accreditation of journalists from DW’s Russian bureau, and close the DW correspondent office in Russia.

The “relevant authorities” will also consider designating Deutsche Welle as a “foreign agent.”

In addition, Russia will compile a list of representatives of state and public institutions in Germany that were involved in restricting RT DE’s work. This list will not be made public, however, those included on it will be banned from entering Russia. 

“Information about the next stages of the response will be published in a timely manner,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

On February 2, German media regulators banned satellite and all other broadcasting of RT DE, citing license issues. In response, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said that RT DE has “every right to broadcast in Germany and the other 32 countries of Europe.”

Following Germany’s decision, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Moscow would take retaliatory measures against German media accredited to work in Russia. The Foreign Ministry also promised retaliatory measures against “Internet intermediaries that arbitrarily and unreasonably deleted the television channel’s [RT DE’s] accounts from their platforms.”

Though the Foreign Ministry didn’t name any specific “intermediaries,” this message was likely directed at Google and its subsidiary YouTube; the video platform permanently removed several German-language channels run by RT DE in 2021.

Last week, informed sources told Kommersant and TASS that the Russian authorities were preparing retaliatory measures in connection with the obstruction of RT DE’s work. Allegedly, these steps would include not only banning Deutsch Welle, but also restrictions on German companies advertizing in Russian online media and “tough penalties” for YouTube.

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