‘Act of censorship’: Russian media watchdog writes to YouTube about deleted RT DE channels, demands explanation

The Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has officially requested an explanation from Google over YouTube’s decision to delete two German-language channels, RT DE and DFP, calling it an unacceptable act of censorship.

YouTube said on Tuesday that it had deleted the channels for attempting to circumvent a strike in violation of ‘community guidelines’, after RT DE was barred from live-streaming for a week over a claim of ‘medical misinformation’ in four videos. DFP (Der Fehlende Part) was deleted for sharing the ‘offending’ videos.

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(L) © Reuters / Dado Ruvic; (R) © RT Deutsche
YouTube deletes 2 channels of RT’s sister project RT DE with 600K subscribers over alleged community guidelines violation

“YouTube’s cancellation of video hosting to these channels violates the key principles of free distribution of information and unhindered access to it,” said a letter sent on Tuesday to the Google-owned company by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, colloquially known as Roskomnadzor.

We consider these actions of the YouTube administration as an act of censorship and consider any restrictions on access to channels unacceptable.

In the letter obtained by RT, Roskomnadzor demanded the lifting of all restrictions from both channels “as soon as possible,” and for YouTube to explain its decision.

RT’s editor in chief Margarita Simonyan called the censorship a “declaration of media war on Russia by Germany” and urged Moscow to respond by banning German broadcasters Deutsche Welle, ARD and ZDF, as well as sanctioning YouTube itself.

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Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russian broadcaster RT and the Rossiya Segodnya media group, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2021. © REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
'A declaration of media war against Russia by Germany,' claims RT editor-in-chief after YouTube deletes popular RT DE channels

Before it was deleted, RT DE was among the top five German-language channels in YouTube’s News and Politics category, with over 600,000 subscribers and almost 547 million total views, based on Tubular Labs data for August.

The outlet, which sought to launch a TV broadcast service later this year, has faced mounting pressure in Germany in recent months. In mid-August, Luxembourg denied RT’s application for a German-language broadcast license. Multiple German media outlets reported that representatives from Berlin met with Luxembourg officials to discuss the issue, but Chancellor Angela Merkel denied pressuring the neighboring country into the decision.

German banks have refused to work with RT DE, and a number of newspapers and magazines have published claims about the outlet, which were later proven to be false and defamatory in German courts.

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