YouTube blocks Russian parliament channel for violating terms of service

YouTube has blocked Duma TV which broadcasts from Russia’s lower house of parliament, prompting an angry backlash from officials who said the world’s most popular streaming service could face restrictions in response.

On Saturday, a post on YouTube said the Duma channel had been “closed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service.”

YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s, came under pressure from Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and officials were quick to respond.

“On the face of it, YouTube has signed its own mandate. Save content, transfer it (it) to Russian platforms. And hurry up,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Telegram messaging service.

The communications watchdog said it had asked Google to immediately restore access to the Douma channel.

“The American IT company adheres to a pronounced anti-Russian stance in the information war unleashed by the West against our country,” Roskomnadzor said.

Google told Reuters in an emailed comment that it is committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws.

“If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes.”

The American “monopoly” on the promotion of information

Vyacheslav Volodin, the Duma speaker, said YouTube’s decision was further evidence of Washington’s violations of rights and freedoms.

“The United States wants to get a monopoly on news promotion. We can’t let that happen,” Volodin said on Telegram.

Russia has already restricted access to Facebook and Instagram, the flagships of Twitter and Meta Platforms, since sending thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24.

Russia had previously tried to ban the Telegram messaging app, now widely used by officials, but lifted its ban in mid-2020.

Some Russian media presented the move as a sellout, but Roskomnadzor said he acted as he did because the app’s Russian founder, Pavel Durov, was willing to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and extremism on the platform.