The move follows steps taken by Berlin’s media regulator following last week’s launch of a German language version of RT.
Broadcasts of RT DE are no longer available on Eutelsat 9°E, after regulator MABB asked Eutelsat for their removal. RT maintains that its Serbian cable and satellite broadcast licence means it can broadcast to Germany and elsewhere under the provisions of the ECTT (European Convention on Transfrontier Television).
Responding to the move, RT said: “It is inappropriate for the German regulator MABB to overreach and ignore the ECTT, under which it is subject, thereby forcing Eutelsat to remove RT DE from the carrier solely due to the unsubstantiated and flawed claims of the German regulator.”
The channel broadcast on satellites with relatively little reach in Germany. Eutelsat 9°E is used to supply cable networks and was most likely to be used as a feed to German viewers. RT DE is still broadcast on the Russian Express AM8 satellite, which is unaffected by the Eutelsat block. Its YouTube channel was taken down within five hours of launching.
RT CEO confirms legal action
Noting how other language versions of RT, including RT UK were able to freely transmit, Alexey Nikolov, CEO of RT said he thought German authorities were concerned about the channel becoming a competitive threat. Speaking on the English language RT channel (pictured above), he said the move had taken place because “no-body wants competition, and we are getting more and more popular”.
He added that the German regulators were falsely claiming the news was being broadcast from Germany. Pointing in the direction of the newsroom, Mr Nikolov said the channel was broadcast from Moscow. He confirmed RT would be taking legal action.
Mr Nikolov confirmed remaining RT services, including RT UK are unaffected by this action.
The action against RT ends a year of strong regulatory action against Russian and Chinese services in Europe. In February, China’s CGTN lost its UK licence. CGTN used ECTT rules to continue broadcasts after France’s CSA decided it could qualify for a French licence. However, it hasn’t yet been able to restore services on UK satellite and cable networks. Luxembourg rejected an application by RT to have its German channel licensed in the country.