Russia’s communications regulator has demanded that Google restore access to its state-sponsored media channels on YouTube in Ukraine, after accusing Facebook and tech companies of ‘censorship’ for limiting its programs. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, said on Sunday that it wrote a letter to Alphabet Inc., Google and YouTube’s parent company, seeking the removal of all restrictions imposed on state media outlets 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 Ukraine Vice 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’ve contacted @YouTube to block the propagandist Russian channels — such as Russia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti. If they are afraid of speaking the truth, so we should stop this flow of poisonous lies,’ his tweet read.
‘In response to a government request, we’ve restricted access to RT and a number of other channels in Ukraine. We will continue to monitor new developments and may take further actions,’ A YouTube spokesperson told Axios on Saturday. The spokesperson said YouTube was also ‘pausing a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube, including several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions’ because of ‘extraordinary circumstances in Ukraine.’
The YouTube spokesperson also said the company would be ‘significantly limiting recommendations to these channels.’ The move came hours after YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it was blocking Russian state media channels, including RT, from selling ads on YouTube globally or being accessible in Ukraine.