RT DE broadcast ban ‘humiliating’ for Serbia – Russian ambassador
Germany has violated European legal norms “quite defiantly” by spurning the broadcast license issued by Serbia to RT’s new 24-hour German-language channel, RT DE, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, Russia’s ambassador to the Balkan country, has said. Berlin’s actions have resulted in a ban on RT DE broadcasts in the country.
In an interview with RT on Monday, Botsan-Kharchenko revealed that Germany’s decision to remove RT DE from major EU satellite platform Eutelsat late last year was “an extremely unpleasant, I would even say humiliating, situation for Serbia.”
The broadcast license, which had been issued by the country to RT’s German-language channel in full compliance with the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT), was “simply ignored,” he pointed out.
Belgrade had strictly followed the ECTT in its actions, meaning that it was operating “within the framework of European and international standards in this area,” the ambassador pointed out.
EU countries, including Germany, are always calling on non-EU nations to behave in this exact manner. “But, this time, they themselves violated these norms quite defiantly,” Botsan-Kharchenko stressed.
Germany has been a party to the ECCT since 1991, while Serbia, which isn’t an EU member, became one of its 33 signatories in 2010. The Convention states that all parties “shall guarantee freedom of reception and shall not restrict the retransmission on their territories of program services.”
However, Berlin’s media regulator MAAB (Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg) claimed that the Serbian paperwork was insufficient for RT DE to be able to broadcast within German territory.
The head of the German Federation of Journalists, Hendrik Zörner, famously went as far as suggesting that Belgrade’s license was “apparently not worth the paper on which it is written.”
Moscow has been insisting that the ban on RT DE was illegal and blamed the German authorities for applying “politically motivated pressure” on Russian media.
It retaliated last week by shutting down the office of German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in Moscow and withdrawing press credentials from its staff.
Berlin claimed that the measures by Russia were a “total overreaction” and lacked any basis because, in its view, circumstances surrounding RT DE and DW were in some way incomparable.