Germanys RT ban ‘complete nonsense’ – Calls for stronger action against Putin

Lithuanian Minister shames Germany for Ukraine inaction

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RT Deutsch was blocked by the German broadcasting regulator on Wednesday over claims the channel did not have “the necessary broadcasting licence”. Russia Today has branded the move “complete nonsense”, while western Twitter users hailed the move to block the “propaganda” outlet.

In a statement, ZAK, Germany’s commission on licensing and supervision of media institutions, said RT DE must immediately stop broadcasting and disseminating the TV programme.

It added the Russian state media outlet had not been granted a licence, nor had it applied for one.

RT DE started operating its television programme on December 16, with German authorities starting proceedings against the station the next day.

RT DE was also blocked from Europe’s satellite network on December 22 at the request of German authorities, less than a week after going on air, but was still available over the internet and via a mobile app.

RT DE said it would seek to appeal in court against the regulator’s decision, and claimed it is operating under a valid Serbian license in line with European law.

Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, said on Twitter the move was “complete nonsense”.

She added the channel “will not stop broadcasting”, while Vladimir Soloviev, president of the Russian journalists’ union, told the Russian TASS news agency Germany was seeking to “ban an alternative point of view” and violating “principles of freedom of expression”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in January said he was “concerned” about the RT DE situation and that the government would take steps in response “if needed”.

However, Twitter users welcomed the move by Germany to block RT DE.

User @chalk063 said: “These ‘retaliatory measures’ better include things like ‘Applying for the proper license like everyone else instead of ignoring multiple calls from regulators that they risk getting banned’ if they want to bother us with RTs s* reporting in the future.”

User Garry Kasparov added: “Russia Today isn’t even a Trojan Horse, it’s blatant propaganda with a $350m Kremlin budget.

“Good to see not every German political institution is corrupt and feckless regarding Putin’s threat. No coincidence this occurred after Merkel’s exit.”

Other users decried it as censorship, with @laparla saying “censorship non-stop”.

User @jazzgrackle said: “I see. But why not just put like a warning there or something? Also it’s “Russia Today” it seems pretty obvious that it’s propaganda, doesn’t it?”

Another user, @HermanntheGerm7, questioned why it took German authorities so long to act and said: “Have the responsible German officials been reported for years of inactivity?

“RT German has been broadcasting for a long time.”

It comes as Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, mocked Liz Truss and called her “worthless”.

The foreign secretary mistakenly said Britain will support “our Baltic allies across the Black Sea”, but they are two different bodies of water more than 700 miles apart.

Ms Zakharova said in a blog post: “Mrs Truss, your knowledge of history is nothing compared to your knowledge of geography

“If anyone needs saving from anything, it’s the world, from the stupidity and ignorance of British politicians.”

German chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow soon, he said in an interview with Germany’s ZDF on Wednesday, without providing a precise date.

Scholz said: “I will soon speak (to Putin) in Moscow about the topics that are necessary. 

“There needs to be coordinated politics on the European Union and NATO.”

“It is planned and will take place soon,” he said of the visit, adding details would be provided in due course.

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