Russia to target German media in response to German ban on RT TV

The logo of Russian television network RT is seen on a board at the SPIEF 2017 in St. Petersburg
The logo of Russian television network Russia Today (RT) is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

MOSCOW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Russia will retaliate against Germany for banning the German-language service of Russian broadcaster RT, and the response will impact German media accredited in Russia and internet "intermediaries", the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Germany's MABB media watchdog and Commission for Licensing and Supervision (ZAK) of media institutions said on Wednesday that RT DE needed a licence that conformed with Germany's State Media Treaty and could not replace it with a different licence.

"This move deprives us of any choice but to embark on retaliatory measures against German media accredited in Russia, as well as against internet intermediaries that have voluntarily and groundlessly deleted accounts of the TV channel from their platforms," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

RT said it will go to court over the German decision.

In December, YouTube had removed RT DE, saying it violated community standards, and the MABB media watchdog for Berlin and the state of Brandenburg ruled RT DE was not eligible to broadcast in Germany for licensing reasons. read more

The ban led to Eutelsat (ETL.PA) removing RT Deutsch from the list of channels broadcast from its satellites, though the broadcaster continued to stream content on its website.

RT DE, which had until the end of 2021 to respond to the proceedings, said on its website that it had a Serbian licence that allowed it to broadcast in Germany under a European convention on trans-frontier television.

Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Berlin and Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow Editing by Miranda Murray, Angus MacSwan and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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