German media reported last week that YouTube has blocked Russian state-funded RT’s German YouTube channels over Covid-19 misinformation. According to a DW report:
September 28, 2021 Video-sharing platform YouTube deleted Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels on Tuesday, saying it had violated its COVID misinformation policy. “YouTube has always had clear community guidelines that outline what is allowed on the platform,” a YouTube spokesperson told DW. Initially RT’s German channel was issued a strike for uploading content that breached YouTube’s COVID misinformation policy, resulting in a week-long posting ban. RT then used a second channel, “Der Fehlende Part,” — which translates to “the missing part” in German — to evade the suspension. RT DE [the name for RT in Germany] “tried to circumvent the enforcement by using another channel, and as a result both channels were terminated for breaking YouTube Terms of Service,” the spokesperson said. YouTube added that it is against its terms of service to “use another channel in an attempt to circumvent the suspension of one channel by activity on another.”
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Following the suspension of RT’s German YouTube channels, German far-right and far-left lawmakers – whose parties have been supported by Russian state media – harshly criticized YouTube’s conduct. According to another DW report:
October 1, 2021 Martin Renner, a member of Germany’s far-right AfD who specializes in media affairs, views the matter rather differently — his party, after all, maintains close ties to the Kremlin. Speaking to DW, Renner said YouTube’s conduct was “utterly improper.” He believes it shows governmental decisions are being “delegated to private companies.” He said the affair is “ultimately about the question of freedom of speech and press freedom, and I feel this [step] severely infringes on press freedom.” He said the threats of retaliation by Russia were the result of “misguided policies initiated and conducted by Germany.”
Sevim Dagdelen, a Left Party representative on the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was frightening to see how “US oligarchs are deciding which news reports can be received in Germany and which ones can’t.” She went on to say that anyone failing to be outraged by the “politically arbitrary actions of the Google subsidiary YouTube cannot credibly criticize censorship in other countries.” According to the lawmaker, having private US corporations block news reports on the coronavirus pandemic that they consider undesirable constitutes a major breach of press freedom.
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