Russia’s Union of Journalists on Thursday accused YouTube of “censorship” and called for punitive measures, as fears mount that the US company maybe next in line for a ban in Russia.
“Biased moderation and open censorship by digital platforms must have consequences in accordance with the norms of the Russian law,” the Interfax news agency quoted the head of Russia’s Union of Journalists Vladimir Solovyev as saying.
“We urge Russian authorities to react to the situation and to take appropriate measures against Google and the video hosting service YouTube,” he said.
According to Solovyev, the union will file a relevant request with Russian prosecutors, the foreign ministry and the country’s media regulator Roskomnadzor.
Separately, Russia’s largest media holding company — a subsidiary of state energy giant Gazprom — on Thursday criticised YouTube for removing two of its channels, TNT and NTV, from the platform.
“YouTube’s decision to block them for millions of subscribers has come as an absolute surprise,” Gazprom-Media said on Telegram, calling YouTube’s actions “politically biased and infringing on the interests of our viewers”.
State-owned media group Rossiya Segodnya said its news agency Sputnik, which has been banned from broadcasting in the European Union, was also removed from YouTube.
“All resources of Sputnik in 32 languages are unavailable, YouTube just blocked them,” the group’s spokeswoman Anna Starikova said as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.
Media watchdog Roskomnadzor on Thursday demanded that YouTube restore access to the channel of Sergey Aksyonov, the head of Russia-annexed Crimea.
“YouTube has become an instrument of selective censorship directed against Russian media, socially significant resources and political figures,” Roskomnadzor said on Telegram.
Russian regulators last week accused US tech giant Google and its video subsidiary YouTube of “terrorist” activities.
Russia has already blocked access to other global tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as several independent media.
It has also found Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, guilty of “extremist activities”.