The Russian telecommunications gendarme is threatening the video platform owned by Google with suspension if the two German RT channels are not restored.
Source: Pexels / Viktor Szabó
A showdown between YouTube and Russia has been launched, we learn from AFP. This Wednesday, September 29, the Russian telecommunications gendarme, Roskomnadzor, threatens to block YouTube on Russian territory if Google does not agree to lift the suspension of the YouTube channels of the RT (Russia Today) media in Germany.
It all started with a YouTube warning to RT DE's main channel (for RT Germany). The platform suspended the channel for a week, judging that the latter had not respected its policy with regard to disinformation around the Covid-19. Clearly, RT Germany was accused of having disseminated "false information" on the Covid-19.
Bypass of the track
The story could have ended there if RT Germany had not used its second YouTube channel to continue publishing its content, usually reserved for its main channel. Google considered that RT DE "tried to circumvent law enforcement by using another channel, and as a result, both channels were terminated for violating YouTube's terms of service," a spokesperson said. from YouTube to Deutsche Welle.
As a result, both channels were removed by YouTube on September 28, 2021.
Youtube just deleted both of our German channels WITHOUT RESTORATION POSSIBILITY. pic.twitter.com/2knqxnCrMh
- Margarita Simonyan (@M_Simonyan) September 28, 2021
In the process, the editor-in-chief of RT DE, Margarita Simonyan, published a series of tweets to react to this ban from the platform. It confirms that this is a deletion “without restoration possibilities”.
The one that is labeled by Twitter as directly representing Russia considered that a "media war" had been "declared by Germany to Russia. She then called on her country to ban a series of German media in Russia, as well as YouTube.
German media also targeted
On the German side, government spokesman Steffen Seibert is appeasing, and says Germany has nothing to do with the suspension of RT channels.
The Russian Foreign Ministry does not have the same version. He judges that Berlin has "encouraged" the sanction against RT and declares to RadioFreeEurope:Given the nature of the incident, which is fully in line with the logic of the information war unleashed against Russia, the adoption of symmetrical retaliatory measures against the German media in Russia seems not only appropriate, but also necessary,
Google-Kremlin relationship already strained
Let us add that the rag has already been burning for some time between Russia and the American video platform. The same day the threat to suspend YouTube was made, a Russian court fined Google 6,5 million rubles (77 euros) for not removing content deemed "banned" by the Russian state.
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Also, on September 19, just before the legislative elections in the country, Google and Apple gave in to pressure from Moscow to remove content evoking the famous opponent of the Kremlin, Alexeï Navalny. Sources within Apple and Google had clarified that the companies had given in to the risk that their employees in Russia would be worried.