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YouTube Accused of 'Censorship' in Russia

Rego Korosi (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Russia's Union of Journalists on Thursday accused YouTube of "censorship" and called for punitive measures, as fears mount that the U.S. 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," head of Russia's Union of Journalists Vladimir Solovyev said as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

"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 and a subsidiary of state energy giant Gazprom, on Thursday criticized 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.

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."

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