The Russian foreign ministry is protesting a German decision to block the broadcasting of the state-owned Russia Today (RT) television channel in the Berlin-Brandenburg area, its spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed.
“The German government is continuing the practice of purging the information space by stopping the Russian state television RT DE, which is deliberately leading Russia to take the necessary response,” Zakharova wrote in a commentary on Wednesday.
Zakharova reacted to the blocking of RT DE satellite TV in Germany on Wednesday, a channel launched with the help of Serbia by a Russian media broadcaster licensed “in accordance with the European Convention on Transfrontier Television.” The spokeswoman pointed out that Germany is itself a signatory of the treaty, which allows freedom of reception of broadcast TV services between the countries that are party to it.
“In this way, we have every reason to regard the official activities of Berlin as irrefutable evidence that they have inherently played a key role in organizing years of pressure on the Russian media in various ways and harassing their employees,” Zakharova claimed.
She accused Berlin of “grossly disregarding the principles of a democratic society and violating its obligations under international law” to prevent citizens from accessing an alternative source of information, describing the practice of imposing coercion on a satellite operator by circumventing the dispute settlement procedures set out in the relevant convention as unacceptable.
Zakharova went further, claiming the action taken by Germany was “targeted, politically motivated media segregation and blatant censorship” and accused law enforcement institutions such as the specialized agencies of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the OSCE of turning a blind eye to what had happened.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told NTV’s Russian channel that it was a “new cowboy reality” that the competent German media watchdog had ordered the shutdown of RT DE’s European broadcasts — the channel remains available to watch online or via its mobile app.
Peschov explained that Moscow needs to respond to the alleged censorship because “blocking an entire European media is contrary to the European spirit itself, all OSCE norms and principles, and everything as much as possible .”