Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the blocking of Tsargrad TV Channel on Google services
On July 28, we learned that the Google LLC has again blocked Russian news resources on a large scale. Last night, the official Tsargrad TV account was blocked on the YouTube video hosting site, with an audience of over a million subscribers, as were related channels Tsargrad News and Double-Headed Eagle. This was done without any notice or explanation, only with the warning, “no possibility of recovery.” The media were denied access to mail, cloud and other Google services.
At the same time, YouTube blocked the accounts of a number of Russian experts that share the views of Tsargrad’s editorial policy. In all cases, the video hosting administration ignored its own rules to send a warning of violation of a specific term of the user agreement, which was allegedly infringed upon. Google administrators have ignored the numerous messages from the TV Channel.
The moderators of this video platform chose a cynical moment to limit the streaming of a Russian medium that is promoting Russian Orthodox values. This happened on Rus Baptism Day, an important holiday to Christians.
This is not the first time a US tech giant has behaved like this. On May 20 of this year, the leading Crimean TV channel Krym 24 as well as Anna News and News Front agencies accounts were removed under similar circumstances. Earlier, the Federal News Agency was also blocked without explanation. In this context, it is no accident that over 300 Russian Facebook and Twitter accounts were removed last March.
All these facts make it clear that Google’s decision is yet another example of political censorship, a violation of freedom of speech and the principle of equal access to information. The US technology monopolists are again following in the wake of Washington’s attempts to remove Russian sources from the global information market with unscrupulous tactics.
We call on the related international organisations and human rights community to respond to this unacceptable example of censorship.