Russia condemns YouTube action against RT DE in Germany

MOSCOW, Oct 22 : Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned YouTube for its action against Russian Television’s German language service (RT DE) and termed it as an attack on ‘freedom of speech,’.

Speaking at gathering of journalists at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi on Thursday, the President termed the removal of two YouTube channels of RT DE as a media war against Russia.

“As far as a response is concerned, we have to be careful,” RT quoted Putin as saying.

The Russian president noted that RT DE has been prevented from working in Germany in numerous ways, but warned against any retaliation that could cause more issues.

Calling the restrictions against RT DE a “mistake,” but appearing to suggest that it could be worked out and rejecting the idea of an immediate response.

“Reciprocal measures should not be counterproductive,” he said.

In September, RT DE’s main YouTube channel, as well as another channel of the service called Der Fehlende Part (DFP), were deleted after the social media giant accused them of trying to circumvent community guidelines.

The platform initially gave RT DE a strike for what it perceived as “medical misinformation” in four videos related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. YouTube, however, did not explain what exactly violated the community rules.

The strike meant RT DE could not post any videos or live streams for seven days. During that time RT DE’s videos were still shared on DFP (though not the clips that received the strike). The social media giant still accused both channels of working together to circumvent the rules.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has recently alleged that YouTube acted not out of adherence to its community policies but with the “obvious connivance, if not the insistence,” of German authorities. Germany, for its part, denied having anything to do with the removal of the channels, saying YouTube was a private company and it was their decision.

Earlier this month, RT filed a formal appeal with YouTube over the deletion of its German-language channels, arguing the action was not only undeserved but ran contrary to the US-based platform’s own rules.