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29 Sep, 2021 13:04

RT's German YouTube channel became popular by being better, banning it goes against free market – ex OSCE VP & Bundestag MP Wimmer

RT's German YouTube channel became popular by being better, banning it goes against free market – ex OSCE VP & Bundestag MP Wimmer

YouTube’s decision to ban RT’s German-language channels amid Moscow's belief that it's part of an attempt by Berlin to silence Russian media undermines international peace and goes against German values, Willy Wimmer has argued.

Wimmer, who served as a legislator, for Angela Merkel's CDU, in the Bundestag for over three decades and held the office of vice president at the OSCE, expressed his negative reaction to this week’s erasure of RT’s German-language channels on YouTube. He was speaking to RT DE itself. 

The Google-owned platform erased the highly popular RT DE and DFP channels for “violations of community guidelines.”

It’s a “shrewd way” to put Germany against Russia, he opined. “This happened twice in the last century, and led to huge tragedy, and not only for the relations between our peoples.”

Also on rt.com YouTube deletes 2 channels of RT’s sister project RT DE with 600K subscribers over alleged community guidelines violation

While the ban was issued by a US-based private company, RT perceives it as part of a wider attempt by the German government to stifle Russian media under the guise of fighting misinformation. However, Berlin claims it had nothing to do with the move. 

RT DE, in the past, has come under pressure from German banks, which have refused to service it or demanded unreasonably high charges for servicing its accounts. The Russian channel was also accused of spreading misinformation by local media, prompting it to successfully defend itself from defamation in court.

In mid-August, Luxembourg denied RT’s application for a German-language broadcast license. German media previously reported that Berlin lobbied Luxembourg against giving RT access to German-speaking audiences in the EU.

Considering the circumstances, YouTube’s decision was taken as “a full-fledged declaration of media war against Russia by Germany” according to RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan. 

Also on rt.com 'A declaration of media war against Russia by Germany,' RT editor-in-chief warns after YouTube deletes German-language RT channels

Silencing popular foreign media because they go against someone’s agenda is antithetical to freedom of speech and fair competition in the marketplace of ideas, Wimmer pointed out.

“If RT is so popular in Germany, then according to market principles it speaks in favor of RT. The channel offers high-quality journalism, doesn’t misinterpret people’s words, shows important connections and represents a wide range of opinions,” he said.

During the Cold War, that is how the Western press acted toward the Soviet Union.

The development is deeply unsettling since it is indicative of an increased effort to manipulate and censor the German-language media, Wimmer added. This “reminds me of the worst times in German history. What those times brought to other peoples, I don’t even want to mention,” he said.

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor threatened YouTube with a possible ban in the country for discriminating against a Russian media outlet. The Russian Foreign Ministry likewise promised to react appropriately.

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