Correspondent in Berlin
Germany’s media regulator, the Commission for Media Oversight (ZAK), has prohibited the broadcasting in its territory of the Russian television network Russia Today (RT) alleging that the necessary license has not been requested nor has the authorization required by the Media Law in force been granted, according to a statement. RT has responded that it broadcasts from Moscow and that it has a license from Serbia to broadcast cable and satellite, which in his opinion allows him to transmit in Germany in accordance with the directives of the European Union.
“We cannot understand why a regulator, supposedly informed and independent, acts based on what appears to be an exclusively political motivation, based on a false version of reality that serves its purposes,” says a spokesman for the chain, which is not able to refute, however, the assertions of the German regulator that the chain has a newsroom and is based in Berlin, where it does not have any «legitimate permission under European law.
“This decision leaves us no choice but to take retaliatory measures against German media outlets accredited in Russia,” has been the reaction of the Moscow Foreign Ministry, which anticipates that these measures will affect “internet intermediaries that arbitrarily and unjustifiably eliminated the accounts of the Russian chain on their platforms”, among which would be YouTube.
The ZAK verdict, prompted by a request from the Berlin and Brandenburg media authority (MABB), which considers itself competent because RT Germany has production facilities in the German capital, comes at a time of enormous tension between the governments of Russia and Germany, mainly due to the Ukraine crisis.
“The channel will not stop broadcasting”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has just announced that he will visit Moscow “soon”, indicating that the diplomatic teams are working on a bilateral meeting to which the two countries will each come with the strongest possible negotiating position. In Germany, the RT network has received numerous criticisms for its editorial line and its limited respect for the facts in the information it broadcasts, which have been systematically rejected by the network’s director, Margarita Simonyan. “The German Media Regulator’s Verdict Is An Unmistakable Sign That Russia’s Concerns Are Being Ignored And It Can Be Shown That Western Countries they do not want Russian arguments to be heard» he said, in addition to guaranteeing that the channel «will not stop broadcasting».
The RT channel, as a result of the lack of a license, has already been blocked from the European Satellite Network at the request of the German authorities, although is still accessible on the web and through a mobile application, waiting for a judicial appeal that the address hopes to present shortly.
Vladimir Soloviev, president of the Union of Russian Journalists, has declared for his part to the Russian news agency Tass that Germany seeks to “prohibit an alternative point of view”, violating the “principles of freedom of expression”.
RT, broadcasting since 2005, it is a public channel that has web pages in several languages, such as English, French, Spanish and Arabic. It has caused controversy in several countries, including the United States, where the network has been urged to legally register as a “foreign agent.”
Also in the United Kingdom, whose authorities threatened to revoke its license, and it has been banned in several countries, such as the former Soviet republics Lithuania and Latvia. In Germany, the beginning of its broadcasts already suffered difficulties, when the European telecommunications satellite Eutelsat 9B canceled its signal on the platform, and, in August 2021, Luxembourg refused to grant RT a license to broadcast, justifying the decision on “information and data provided by the German authorities” that it did not specify.
However, after the formation of the new German government, the “traffic light coalition”, was consolidated, the new Foreign Minister seemed to have changed the official discourse. Annalena Baerbock had recently stated that the German authorities could not prevent the activities of the Russian media. Alexander Chinschtein, of the ruling Unified Russia party, has said for his part that “this is a political decision and a violation of freedom of expression».
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism