Russian journalists and content creators have been advised to use digital services based in their own country, after American streaming giant YouTube labeled a film from RT as “offensive.”
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Federal communications agency has written to Google, the California-based company that owns YouTube, over the restrictions on the documentary, ‘USA 2020: Up in arms.’ In a statement, the regulator said that “cases of the administration of the YouTube video hosting service blocking, labeling, warning, consent and other restrictions with respect to materials of Russian media and journalists have become more frequent.”
It added that the Russian government views these developments as part of “a purposeful policy of influencing foreign platforms on Russians’ access to objective information.”
The documentary, which follows the rise of heavily armed militias ahead of this month’s US election, has been tagged with a warning for “inappropriate content.” If a user’s language settings are in Russian, an additional notification tells them that the 27-minute clip contains content “that might frighten or shock some users.” It has already been age-restricted, with viewers being forced to sign in and confirm they are over eighteen before they can watch.
The regulator added that Russian content creators can use platforms based in the country to ensure viewers can access material that Western companies might otherwise look to censor. The statement specifically pointed to Russian firms “possessing developed distributed content delivery networks.”
US companies have repeatedly clashed with Roskomnadzor over perceived censorship of Russian media. In October, the agency wrote to Facebook, Twitter and Google, ordering them to stop limiting access to content from the country.
YouTube has previously blocked the accounts of the Tsargrad channel, Anna News and News Front agencies. Google has also previously limited the distribution of the film “Beslan”, chronicling the 2004 Russian school siege that left 334 people dead.
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