Google-owned YouTube has removed two German-language Russia Today channels. RT DE has been one of the leading news and politics channels on the social media platform with hundreds of millions of views. “The RT DE channel was deleted, as well as our second channel DFP (Der Fehlende Part) without the right to restore.”– said the head of RT in Germany, Dinara Toktosunova on Tuesday.
Main channel RT DE was banned from broadcasting and uploading videos for seven days from September 21 on the basis of violations of “community guidelines” and for alleged “medical misinformation” in several videos. YouTube did not elaborate on what specifically raises doubts about the video content. The material shown in the past few weeks and earlier focused on the covid topic, and also included an interview with German epidemiologist Friedrich Puerner, who criticized the government’s methods of dealing with the pandemic. The blocking expired on Tuesday, but the channel not only did not resume activity, but was completely removed. The video hosting YouTube said in a statement: “We have reviewed your content and found serious or repeated violations of our Community Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your channel from Youtube. ” The same thing happened with DFP, which did not have any violations or warnings.
RT DE was ranked in the top 5 German-language YouTube channels in the news and politics categories, with over 600,000 subscribers and almost 547 million views (according to the measurement platform Tubular Labs in August). “This time, they considered it“ an attempt to circumvent the restrictions ”by inviting our own audience to our second channel, while the first was serving a“ punishment ”for far-fetched“ violations of community norms ”- for the fact that we gave interviews to skeptics on coronamera on the air. This is not the first time we invite our audience to our second channel, but today they made the decision to remove both channels. At the same time, anti-vaccines, terrorists and fascists of all stripes are quietly broadcasting on YouTube. They often said directly that they pessimize us and “do not let us in,” this turned out to be not enough – we grew, despite their “non-acceptance,” now they simply removed us, ” – said the editor-in-chief of the RT channel Margarita Simonyan.
RT DE has faced some pressure in Germany in recent months, including plans to start broadcasting later this year. In mid-August, Luxembourg rejected RT’s application for a German-language broadcasting license. Chancellor Angela Merkel denied pressure on the neighboring country, despite several German media reports that Berlin officials met with Luxembourg officials to discuss the matter.
In anticipation of the planned launch of the broadcast, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that some German media outlets have unleashed an “outright information war” against RT. For example, Die Welt, owned by the Axel Springer conglomerate, published two copyright reports that were later found to contain false claims about RT DE. Earlier, the German banking concern Commerzbank suddenly and without explanation announced that it was closing accounts associated with RT DE. When the agency approached other German banks, their requests were ignored or denied.
According to RBC, it became known that today Roskomnadzor demanded from Google to unblock two German YouTube channels Russia Today, in case of failure to comply with the instructions, the video hosting could face blocking on the territory of Russia.