The Kremlin on Wednesday threatened to block YouTube and take retaliatory measures after the Google-owned video-sharing platform blocked the German-language channels of RT News.
Russia has recently been applying pressure on big tech as it seeks greater control over news content available online to audiences in the country.
The Kremlin through RT has launched serious efforts to broaden its influence abroad. Especially with RT News aka Russia Today. RT News broadcast its news in multiple languages.
Google affiliate company YouTube on Tuesday told media in Germany that it had issued a warning to RT for violating its coronavirus disinformation guidelines. The Tech Giant then abruptly shut down two Youtube channels for breach of usage terms.
YouTube accused of Media Suppression
Russia’s foreign ministry has accused the Tech Giant of an “unprecedented act of media suppression” which it said was likely aided by German authorities. Germany has since denied that it had anything to do with the move.
The Russian foreign ministry said retaliatory measures against German media seemed necessary.
The Russian foreign ministry released a statement saying “The Kremlin believes our measures are the only possible way to stimulate RTs’ interest in a constructive and meaningful dialogue around this unacceptable situation”.
Germany spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the German government had “nothing to do with” YouTube’s move. Furthermore, he warned Moscow against potential retaliation against German-owned media in Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has threatened to restrict YouTube access in Russia, accusing the Google-owned company of “censorship”.
The watchdog stated it has sent a letter to YouTube’s owner Google “demanding that all restrictions be lifted” forthwith from the two channels,[RT DE and Der Fehlende Part] immediately.
The Russian watchdog said YouTube could be issued a warning. Furthermoe, “Russian law provides for measures of full or partial restriction of access to YouTube” if its warnings are ignored.
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