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3 Feb, 2022 13:31

Russia to kick out German state media after Berlin bans RT DE

Moscow will halt operations of German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle in Russia in response to Berlin’s ban on RT DE
Russia to kick out German state media after Berlin bans RT DE

The Russian office of the German state broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), is to be closed as part of the “first round” of a response to Berlin’s “unfriendly actions” against RT DE, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The German outlet will also be barred from broadcasting in Russia via a satellite or through other means, the statement added. All staff members at DW’s Russian office are to be stripped of their press credentials, according to the foreign ministry.

Moscow has also launched a procedure which will recognize DW as a “foreign media outlet acting as a foreign agent” under Russian law.

Moscow also said it was compiling a list of German state and public entities believe t be linked to blocking RT DE  in Germany and exerting pressure on the Moscow-based broadcaster. Representatives included on the list will be barred from entering Russia, the foreign ministry said, adding that it would release information about subsequent rounds of reciprocal measures “in due course”.

DW said it would challenge the decision of the Russian authorities in court and would also continue operating from the Moscow office until it receives a formal closure order. DW’s director, Peter Limbourg, denounced Moscow’s move as “absurd” and an “overreaction.” He also vowed to “significantly increase the coverage” of Russia.

The move comes a day after Germany's top media regulator sided with a regional authority and upheld a ban on RT DE's broadcast in Germany, citing the absence of a locally-issued license. The channel previously obtained a valid pan-European permit in Serbia but the German regulators declared that void.

RT DE now has four weeks to appeal the decision in court, which it is planning to do.