BERLIN, Germany: The new German-language broadcast from RT, Russia’s international television station, was taken off the air days after its launch by German authorities, which ruled that it did not have a license to operate in the country.
The Eutelsat satellite subsequently removed RT Deutsch from its list of satellite channels.
The ban came amidst rising tensions over Russia’s military activity on its border with Ukraine and energy supply issues.
State-owned RT, launched in 2005, is considered a propaganda outlet by most Western governments.
In a statement, the broadcast authority in Berlin said, RT “did not apply for a broadcasting permit and nor was one issued.”
RT’s live stream on YouTube was also removed shortly after its launch, but the channel can still be watched live on the RT website.
The station claimed a license it holds in Serbia gives it the right to broadcast in Germany under the “European Convention on Transfrontier Television,” a Council of Europe agreement to which both countries are party.
In a statement, RT said, “We consider the actions of the German regulator to be illegal and are convinced that this decision will be reviewed in court.”
In response to the ban, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused “Western partners” of “strangling the media,” stressing, “I do not exclude us having to react if this unacceptable situation continues.”
Earlier this month, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov said journalism in Russia was going “through a dark valley,” with over one hundred journalists, media outlets, human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations being branded as foreign agents.
Russian authorities said the foreign agents list is essential to safeguarding the country from external influence.
Russian state media have extensive operations in Berlin, including the video news agency Ruptly.