Russia asks Google to restore access to its media YouTube channels in Ukraine

Russia’s communications regulator has demanded that Google restore access to its state-sponsored media channels on YouTube in Ukraine, after accusing Facebook and other big tech companies of “censorship” for limiting its programming.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, said on Sunday it had written a letter to Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google and YouTube, calling for the removal of all restrictions on state media such as RBC, TV Zvezda and Sputnik.

YouTube blocked access to state-run media channels on Saturday at the request of the Ukrainian government, which Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov confirmed on Twitter early Saturday morning local time.

“We intend to help Russians and the world to know the truth. I contacted @YouTube to block Russian propaganda channels, such as Russia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti. If they are afraid to tell the truth then we should stop this flow of poisonous lies,’ his tweet read.

Russia’s communications regulator has asked Google to restore access to its state-sponsored media channels on YouTube in Ukraine. Above, President Vladimir Putin spoke at the National Space Agency in Moscow on Sunday

Roskomnadzor, Russia's media regulator, said on Sunday it had written a letter to Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google and YouTube, calling for the removal of all restrictions on state media such as RBC (YouTube homepage pictured above)

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, said on Sunday it had written a letter to Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google and YouTube, calling for the removal of all restrictions on state media such as RBC (YouTube homepage pictured above)

Sputnik YouTube homepage

TV Zvezda YouTube homepage

YouTube blocked access to state media channels on Saturday at the request of the Ukrainian government

“In response to a government request, we have restricted access to RT and a number of other channels in Ukraine. We will continue to monitor new developments and may take further action,” a YouTube spokesperson told Axios on Saturday.

The spokesperson said YouTube was also “terminating the ability of a number of channels to monetize on YouTube, including several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions” due to “extraordinary circumstances in Ukraine”.

YouTube’s spokesperson also said the company would “significantly limit recommendations to these channels.”

Just hours before YouTube’s move, Google announced it was blocking Russian state media channels from selling ads.

The move came hours after Google-owned YouTube said it was blocking Russian state media channels, including RT, from selling YouTube ads globally or being accessible in Ukraine. .

Russian forces entered Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, today after failing in their overnight efforts to take control of the capital, Kiev.

Russian forces entered Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, today after failing in their overnight efforts to take control of the capital, Kiev.

YouTube has also banned Russian state-run media from monetizing due to sanctions against the country.

YouTube has also banned Russian state-run media from monetizing due to sanctions against the country.

Following another request from the Ukrainian government, Google has also removed Russian public television network RT, formerly known as Russia Today, from its Google Play Store in Ukraine.

YouTube has removed hundreds of channels and thousands of videos over the past few days that violated its policies by engaging in “coordinated deception”. CNN reported.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner also lobbied YouTube on Friday, writing a letter saying his staff could see RT monetize on the platform.

Warner said he alerted the Departments of Justice and Treasury to report that the platform allowed sanctioned entities to monetize, CNN reported.

Alphabet isn’t the only big tech company to infuriate Russian despot Vladimir Putin, as Meta said he banned Russian state media from running ads or monetizing content on Facebook.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, announced the ban on Twitter on Saturday, writing, “We now prohibit Russian state media from serving ads or monetizing on our platform anywhere in the world.”

“We are also continuing to apply labels to other Russian state media. These changes have already started to roll out and will continue over the weekend.

On Friday, Putin ordered a “partial” blocking of Facebook, with Kremlin officials saying it was a response to the tech giant’s “censorship” of its state media.

The EU has also taken action against Russian state media and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference on Sunday that RT would be banned in the EU.

“We are going to ban the Kremlin media machine in the EU. State corporations Russia Today and Sputnik, and their affiliates, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war,” she said.

YouTube has also removed hundreds of channels and thousands of videos over the past few days for engaging in a

YouTube also removed hundreds of channels and thousands of videos in the past few days for engaging in “coordinated deception”. Above is an anti-war protester demonstrating in Moscow’s Pushkin Square on Friday

A person carried a banner during an anti-war demonstration in Moscow, Russia, on Friday

A person carried a banner during an anti-war demonstration in Moscow, Russia, on Friday

“We are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful misinformation in Europe,” she added, though did not provide further details.

Russia’s media regulator has cracked down on the country’s own media, ordering media outlets to remove reports describing the Kremlin attack as “aggression, invasion or a declaration of war” or risk being blocked and fined.

In a statement, Roskomnadzor accused several independent media, including the Dozhd TV channel and the country’s main independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, of spreading “false and socially unreliable information” about the bombing of Ukrainian cities by the Russian army and the death of civilians.

Citing a request from the attorney general’s office, the communications regulator said media outlets that also include Moscow’s Echo radio will be blocked unless they remove “unreliable information”.

“Roskomnadzor has also launched an administrative investigation into the dissemination of unreliable information of public importance by the aforementioned media,” the watchdog said. The offense is punishable by a fine of up to 5 million rubles ($60,000), he said.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry today claimed to have killed more than 4,300 Russian troops in the first three days of fighting.  Russia has not released updates on its military losses

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry today claimed to have killed more than 4,300 Russian troops in the first three days of fighting. Russia has not released updates on its military losses. Above, a Ukrainian Territorial Defense fighter examines a destroyed Russian GAZ Tigr infantry mobility vehicle after the battle in Kharkiv

Russia’s media regulator also said “reliable information” could be found in “official Russian news outlets”.

Putin’s war appears to be proving unpopular in Russia, with protesters taking to the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg calling for an end to the violence.

This week, Russian police arrested 1,702 people in 53 Russian cities, including at least 940 in Moscow and more than 340 people in the second-largest city of St. Petersburg, according to OVD-Info, which tracks arrests at rallies. of the opposition.

Meanwhile, Russians have reportedly been warned by authorities that any ‘negative comments’ about Putin’s assault will be treated as ‘treason’.

It comes after human rights campaigners warned of a new crackdown on dissent in Russia as protests began.

“There will be new (criminal) cases involving subversives, spies, treason, prosecution for anti-war protests, there will be detentions of journalists and bloggers, authors of critical social media posts, bans on investigating the situation in the army, etc.,” prominent human rights defender Pavel Chikov wrote on Facebook.

“It’s hard to say how big this new wave will be, given that everything has already been suppressed.”

More than 150 senior Russian officials have signed an open letter condemning Putin’s invasion as “an unprecedented atrocity” and warning of “catastrophic consequences”.

MPs said they were convinced that Russian citizens did not support the war and accused Putin “personally” of ordering troops into Ukraine in an attack “for which there is no and there can be no justification”.

Several Russian celebrities and public figures, including those working for state television, have also spoken out against the attack.

Russian forces entered Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, today after failing in their overnight efforts to take control of the capital, Kiev.

Also today, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed to have killed more than 4,300 Russian soldiers in the first three days of fighting. Russia has not released updates on its military losses.

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