YouTube again blocked a German-language channel from Russian state broadcaster RT on Thursday for violating its terms of service, after drawing Moscow’s ire in the past with similar shutdowns.
RT diffuser — formerly known as Russia Today — said on its website that YouTube had removed its new channel “Auf Sendung” (On Air) “without explanation”.
The 24/7 channel can still be viewed on other platforms, including the RT DE website.
A YouTube spokesperson told AFP that the channel had been taken down for trying to circumvent its earlier shutdown of German RT channels RT DE and Der Fehlende Part.
“When a channel is closed, the uploader is not allowed to use, own or create other YouTube channels,” the spokesperson said.
“Following this circumvention attempt, the new channel ‘RT auf Sendung’ has been permanently removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service.”
In September, Google-owned YouTube issued a warning to RT DE for violating its coronavirus misinformation guidelines, then shut down two channels for violating terms of service.
The move angered Moscow, which accused YouTube of “censorship” and said the ban was likely aided by German authorities at a time of strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Berlin denied the claim and said it had “nothing to do” with YouTube’s decision.
The latest YouTube spat comes amid high tensions between Russia and Germany, a day after a Berlin court sentenced a Russian to life in prison for a 2019 murder on German soil which, according to him, was ordered by Moscow.
The decision prompted Germany to expel two Russian diplomats.
Germany has also echoed Western alarm over Russian troop movements on the border with Ukraine, with new Chancellor Olaf Scholz warning on Wednesday that Russia would pay “a high price” to invade Ukraine.
Launched in 2005 as “Russia Today”, the state-funded RT has grown with broadcasters and websites in languages including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
He sparked controversy in many countries, including the United States, where he was required to register as a “foreign agent”, and in Britain, where authorities threatened to revoke his broadcasting license .
The channel has been banned in several countries, including the former Soviet republics of Lithuania and Latvia.