Moscow bans Deutsche Welle’s office in Russia in a tit-for-tat move | Media News

Russia is responding to Germany’s ban on the German-language channel of Russian state broadcaster RT.

Russia said it was closing the Moscow office of German TV station Deutsche Welle and revoking staff accreditations in Russia, in response to Berlin’s banning of the German-language channel of Russian state-run TV. RT.

Thursday’s announcement comes with rising tensions between Russia and the West, particularly over fears of a Russian invasion of Europe’s ally Ukraine.

The shutdown also highlights the Kremlin’s increasingly hostile stance toward foreign media following several high-profile expulsions of prominent foreign journalists.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it “will also end satellite and other broadcasts [output] of Deutsche Welle” on Russian territory.

He added that he was beginning the process of designating German media as a “foreign agent” and said further reciprocal measures would be announced in the future.

Deutsche Welle – a German public broadcaster – offers services in 30 languages, including Russian.

The Berlin ban

The move comes after the German broadcast regulator announced on Wednesday that it was banning the transmission of the RT DE channel due to the lack of a broadcast license.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move was an “attack” on freedom of expression, while RT editor Margarita Simonyan called the decision “completely absurd”.

RT DE – the German-speaking branch of RT – was blocked from the European satellite network on December 22 at the request of German authorities, less than a week after it went on the air. But it was still available on the internet and via a mobile app.

In its response to the suspension, RT DE said it was broadcast from Moscow and had a Serbian broadcast license, which it claims gives it the right to broadcast in Germany under European law. .

But the German regulator said the channel was based in Berlin and had no “legitimate license under EU law”.

RT has been banned in several countries [File: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP]

Launched in 2005 as Russia Today, state-funded RT has expanded with channels and websites in languages ​​including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

He has been accused by Western countries of spreading disinformation and pro-Kremlin propaganda.

He sparked controversy in many countries, including the United States, where he was required to register as a “foreign agent”, and in the United Kingdom, where authorities threatened to revoke his broadcasting license .

The channel has been banned in several countries, including the former Soviet republics of Lithuania and Latvia.

In September, Google-owned YouTube issued a warning to RT DE for violating its coronavirus misinformation guidelines, then shut down two channels for violating terms of service.

A third channel was blocked in December for trying to circumvent previous terminations.

Reporters expelled

In August, Moscow expelled a veteran BBC correspondent in retaliation for a Russian correspondent who had been denied accreditation by London.

Three months later, a Dutch correspondent was expelled for years-old administrative violations.

The decision to shut down the German outlet comes after months of unprecedented pressure on independent media from Russian authorities.

Last year, Russia slapped a number of media outlets and journalists with the “foreign agent” tag that requires them to go through cumbersome administrative procedures.

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