Russia’s foreign ministry has threatened harsh retaliation against YouTube after a video-sharing service suspended two German-language accounts run by Russian state media, according to a Russian report. TASS newspapers. Russia has gone so far as to call the suspensions an “information war.”
The YouTube accounts, RT Germany and Der Fehlende Part, were reportedly deleted following the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and had a total of 700,000 subscribers before the deletion.
RT Germany was initially suspended from posting new videos for a week after violating YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation rules, but the account was completely deleted after RT allegedly reloaded the content to another channel called Der Fehlende Part or “The Missing Part” in English.
“Given the nature of the incident, which is fully in line with the logic of the information war waged against Russia, taking symmetrical retaliation against the German media in Russia would seem not only appropriate but also necessary, especially given this [the German media] they have been caught interfering in the internal affairs of our country on several occasions in the past, ”the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. TASS on Tuesday.
“Given that the German side has ignored several requests for return in accordance with international obligations to protect media freedoms and freedom of speech, we believe that such measures are the only possible way to encourage our partners to engage in a constructive and meaningful dialogue on this unacceptable situation.” in a statement.
It is unclear whether “retaliation” against YouTube would include a ban on the website in Russia, but the government has made similar threats before – including in 2020 when YouTube posted notices of videos posted by state media.
RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan called not only for sanctions on YouTube, but also for a ban on German broadcasters in Russia, such as the state-run media channel DW.
“I am really looking forward to the fact that my home country will ban Deutsche Welle and other German media in Russia without delay, and close bureaus. [German broadcasters] ARD and ZDF. I am silent about the sanctions against YouTube itself. Although we should do it, out of self-respect “, said Simonyan on Telegram, according to the English translation of Russia Jellyfish newspapers.
While YouTube owned by Alphabet allegedly banned two Russian accounts due to misinformation about the COVID-19 virus, RT’s English-language channel highlighted YouTube’s rules against reviewing recent Results of the German elections on Tuesday.
Election misinformation is another topic that YouTube has been trying to control in recent years, especially in the U.S. after former President Donald Trump took power. Russian President Vladimir Putin infamous they wanted Trump to win 2016 and RT in the USA the channel was filled with pro-Trump propaganda in an effort to elect him.
Whatever the exact reason for YouTube’s ban on RT Germany, Russia clearly does not believe that YouTube ‘s actions are just a matter of internal corporate policy, but a battleground in the New Cold War.
“The aim of this aggression on the projects of the Russian media holding is obvious: to silence sources of information that go beyond the media agenda that suits German officials,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday, but Gizmodo will update this post if they contact us.
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