Sender is to be declared a “foreign agent”. The ban is in retaliation for RT DE’s broadcast freeze.
Moscow – On Thursday, Russia took drastic measures to restrict the broadcasting rights of the Russian foreign broadcaster RT Deutsch (RT DE) in Germany. As the Russian Foreign Ministry announced, the correspondent’s office of the broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in Moscow will be closed. Accreditation is withdrawn from all employees of the office.
The broadcast of the program is prohibited. And the responsible authorities are starting proceedings to declare Deutsche Welle a foreign agent. In addition, a list of all representatives of German authorities and associations who were involved in the restrictions against RT DE should be drawn up. You will be banned from entering Russia. Further information about subsequent countermeasures will be published in good time.
Admission under media law: employees of RT DE may continue to work in Germany
Russia reacted much more violently than expected. Yesterday, German correspondents in Moscow considered it likely that Deutsche Welle’s broadcasting license for Russia would be revoked, but that the work of the DW correspondents’ bureau would not be affected. And Russian media reported about a possible restriction for the advertising of German companies in Russian internet media. Measures were also discussed against the YouTube platform, which had blocked the German-language channel of Russia Today (RT), which is said to have spread fake news about the corona pandemic. But things turned out differently.
On Wednesday, the German Broadcasting Commission ZAK prohibited the Russian foreign broadcaster from broadcasting its German-language program due to a lack of media law approval. The German branch of the state broadcaster RT DE can only be received in Germany via its Internet portal or the Tiktok platform. However, the employees of RT DE continue to work undisturbed, and there is no talk of closing the office so far. In Moscow, five correspondents for Deutsche Welle are affected by the work ban, three of them work for the Russian program.
Allegations from Russia after broadcast ban for RT DE: broadcaster wants to sue against decision
Vladimir Putin therefore spoke of discrimination, Berlin trampled on the freedom of speech, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. German politicians point to laws banning foreign state channels in Germany, while the Russian side points out that RT is an “autonomous non-profit organization” under Russian law. And a senior official told the newspaper Kommersant: “Budget funds from the state also receive Deutsche Welle, BBC and many other media that have the opportunity to work in Germany.”
RT is controversial, many Western observers regard the institution as a propaganda station that places apparently neutral reports and entertainment documentaries at great expense alongside conspiracy theories and targeted false information. And according to their own statements, RT DE started in December with 70 employees in Berlin alone. RT wants to sue against the ban on broadcasting in Germany, Deutsche Welle will hardly have the opportunity in Russia to prevent the closure of its office through legal channels.
Russian state broadcaster RT DE: German correspondents face problems
The press office of the Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday asked German correspondents in Moscow to report by next Tuesday whether their media receive financial support “directly or indirectly” from the government of Germany or other countries. Also, whether they are members of the German Association of Journalists, which had heavily criticized RT DE. A lot of problems still threaten the German correspondents in Moscow. (Stefan Scholl)