“Russia Today” Satellite License Revoked in Germany, Kremlin Retaliates by Shutting Down Deutsche Welle’s Russian Service
Russian authorities have banned the broadcasting of German Deutsche Welle media programs in the country, closed its office and stripped journalists of their accreditation to work in Russia. The decision came just two days after Germany revoked the satellite broadcasting license of Russia’s state-run Russia Today (RT) television channel on German soil. Shortly afterwards, YouTube blocked the German-language channel RT on its platform hours after it began airing in December
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it was retaliating with measures against the German media accredited in Russia, as well as on Internet platforms, which arbitrarily and unreasonably deleted RT channels. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that Russia would announce a series of measures against German media over a ban on RT DE.
The state news agency “RIA Novosti” has announced a plan for the Russian government to take action against the German media company Deutsche Welle. In addition to the closure of Deutsche Welle’s correspondent office in Moscow and the revocation of the credentials of all employees of the Russian bureau of the TV and radio company, the suspension of Deutsche Welle satellite and other broadcasting has been announced. Then, initiating a procedure for marking the media as a foreign agent and banning the entry into Russia of representatives of the German state and public structures involved in revoking the license of RT DE. The list will not be made public.
DW CEO Peter Limbourg said the Russian government’s decision would only strengthen DW’s resolve to report on events in Russia.
This is another sign that the Russian government is not interested in press freedom and freedom of opinion. Even if we have to leave the country, we will intensify our reporting on the country. We will not just ignore what is happening in Russia, we will report. And we will do more and more, said DW CEO Limbourg, who described Russia’s reaction as “totally exaggerated”.
Deutsche Welle, which broadcasts in 30 languages, including Russian, has announced that it will take legal action.
Following the ban, the German Association of Journalists (DJV) called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately lift it and restore the journalists’ credentials.
There is no justification for this drastic censorship measure, DJV President Frank Uberall said, calling the move a “cheap revenge” for the German media regulator’s decision.
On the other hand, Vladimir Solovyov, president of the Union of Journalists’ Associations of Russia, told “RIA Novosti” that Deutsche Welle sometimes violated Russian law, but worked freely in Russia for many years.
First, the Union of Journalists’ Associations is always against any restrictions on the media, both against the restrictions imposed on our media abroad and those against the work of foreign media in our country. We are advocating for freedom of the press. [Deutsche Welle] sometimes violated Russian law, called people to rallies and published completely obscene texts and cartoons addressed to the leaders of the Russian state. Obviously, the time has come to end this, Solovyov told “RIA Novosti.”
On 1 February, the German Media Regulators’ Registration and Oversight Commission officially banned RT DE from broadcasting in Germany, saying it did not have the necessary permission. RT, meanwhile, announced that RT DE Productions would appeal the German regulator’s decision in court.
“Russia Today” from 16 December 2021 broadcast a program in Germany through a license obtained in Serbia. The permit was issued by Serbia’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, which, citing European law, allowed Russian television to broadcast in Germany.
The German regulatory body assessed that the Serbian license is insufficient because the company that produces the RT DE program is based in Berlin and its target is the German audience.