Russia accuses YouTube of blocking the account of “Douma-TV”, the Russian parliamentary channel


Moscow has promised reprisals which raise fears of a blockage of service in Russia.

Russia on Saturday promised retaliation after the shutdown of the YouTube account of the lower house of the Russian parliament, raising the possibility of a blockage in Russia of the video platform of the American giant Google. Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin claimed that the blocking of “Douma-TV” was a Washington measure that violated “rightsof the Russians. “The United States wants to have a monopoly on the dissemination of information“, he launched on his Telegram account. “We cannot allow this.»

AFP journalists in Moscow found that the account in question was no longer accessible on YouTube on Saturday. According to Google, the channel was shut down due to recent sanctions announced by the US government. “Google is committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and trade laws. If an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action“said a spokesperson for the group, in a press release sent to AFP.

According to Moscow, the “Douma-TV” account had more than 145,000 subscribers on YouTube. It broadcast live broadcasts from parliament and interviews with Russian MPs. “YouTube signed its own condemnation“Reacted the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova, on Telegram, calling for the transfer”rapidly» content from YouTube to Russian video platforms.

Widely used in Russia

In recent weeks, in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine, YouTube has already been accused by Moscow of having blocked the accounts of pro-Kremlin media and Russian officials. Russia’s telecoms policeman, Roskomnadzor, in March accused Google and YouTube of “terrorists“, prefiguring a possible blocking in Russia of the site as have been Twitter, Instagram and several other independent media since the offensive in Ukraine.

The Russian authorities have sharply increased their pressure and their legal arsenal to control communication on the conflict in Russia, threatening up to 15 years in prison the dissemination of “false informationabout the Russian army. Roskomnadzor on Thursday banned Google from advertising its services in Russia after accusing YouTube of broadcasting “false informationabout Russian forces.

As in many other countries, YouTube is widely used in Russia, both by ordinary users for entertainment or information, but also by ministries or institutions to distribute their content.

The platform is in particular a privileged tool of the imprisoned opponent Alexeï Navalny, who has disseminated numerous investigations there, viewed tens of millions of times, on the corruption of the Russian elites. As early as 2006, Moscow launched a competing video service, Rutube, without much success. But its CEO assured the Interfax agency on Friday that he had seen an increase “colossal» the number of videos recently uploaded to the platform.

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