Germany shuts down Russia Today TV channel

The German Commission on Licensing and Supervision (ZAK), has banned Russia Today’s german language channel RT DE from broadcasting in the country. On Wednesday, February 2, the German Federal Media Regulator explained this decision by the fact that RT DE does not have a license to broadcast in Germany, which is necessary in accordance with the law" The Interstate Treaty on Media (Medienstaatsvertrag – MStV) ".

From February 1, the broadcast and further distribution of any programs of the channel in Germany is prohibited. This applies, among other things, to satellite and online broadcasting, as well as broadcasting through the "RT News" online application. "RT DE cannot refer to any other European regulations while disputing this decision,'" ZAK said in its statement.

German national media regulator believes that the Berlin-based media company RT DE Productions GmbH bears legal responsibility for the content of the RT German-language program. The heads of RT and RT DE Productions argue that this media company is not responsible for the broadcasting of RT DE, which is based, according to their assurances, in Moscow.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan wrote on her Telegram channel that RT DE will not stop broadcasting. And the head of RT DE Productions, Dinara Toktosunova, said that the decision of the German media regulator will be appealed in court.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that the Russian authorities will take retaliatory measures in connection with ZAK’s decision to ban the broadcasting of the RT DE TV channel.

The German-language TV channel RT DE was launched on December 16 with a broadcast via satellite and the Internet. A week after launch, on December 22, the channel was removed from broadcasting via European satellites by the European satellite operator at the request of the Germany's MABB media watchdog for the states of Berlin and Brandenburg.

On December 17, MABB opened a case against RT DE for violating the "State Law on the Modernization of the Media Regulation in Germany". However, since this is a TV channel broadcasting throughout Germany, the decision on this issue should be made by the Licensing and Supervision Commission, MABB said at the time.

RT DE's website says that the channel began round-the-clock broadcasting in Germany on December 16 under a license for cable and satellite broadcasting issued in Serbia. In the summer of 2021, RT was already trying to get a license in Luxembourg, but the application was rejected. Luxembourg’s authorities explained this by the legal sovereignty of Germany in this matter.

The company's German-language channel RT DE was removed by YouTube on December 16, just hours after its launch. The press service of the American Internet concern Google, which owns YouTube, reported that the channel RT Auf Sendung was blocked for circumventing previously imposed restrictions.

At the end of September 2021, YouTube had already removed two other RT channels without the possibility of restoration - RT DE and Der Fehlende Part. Google said initially that the RT channel was removed due to publishing false information about the coronavirus pandemic, and the second removal was due to RT trying to circumvent the previously imposed restrictions.

"If a channel is removed, the channel owner cannot use, own or create any other channels on YouTube. Therefore, the RT channel Auf Sendung was also removed for violating the YouTube Terms of Service, namely for circumventing previously imposed restrictions," Google said.

After the RT channels were blocked by YouTube in September, the Russian authorities accused Google of censorship, and the German government of being behind Google’s decision. Berlin rejected this accusation, stressing that the German authorities have nothing to do with the actions of YouTube.

  Russia Today, Germany, Youtube