On Wednesday, the Russian authorities threatened to block YouTube in the country, a day after it deleted the accounts of the German-language channel Russia Today, claiming that the channel violated the site’s policy related to the Coronavirus.
The local newspaper, RBC, reported that the Russian media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, threatened to block YouTube if the site did not restore the banned channels, according to the American newspaper, Politico.
“The site has always had clear community guidelines outlining what is allowed on the platform,” a spokesperson for the Google-owned YouTube platform said in a press statement.
Before blocking the accounts of the Russian channel, the channel received a notification and was subsequently banned from publishing for a week.
However, Russia Today tried to circumvent it by uploading its clips through a channel for one of its programs called “Der Fehlende Part”, which means “the missing part”.
As a result, YouTube decided to delete the two channels, without the right to restore them; For violating the platform’s terms and policies that prevent a suspended person from using another channel to circumvent the ban on their channel, the spokesperson said.
For her part, Margherita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of “Russia Today”, described the ban as “a real information war that Germany has declared against Russia.”
In a tweet, Russia also called on Russia to “respond to what happened by banning German public broadcasters, such as ARD and ZDF.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry described the deletion of the accounts as “an unprecedented media aggression by YouTube, committed with leniency on the part of the German side, if not at its instigation.”