NewsWorldRussia closes Deutsche Welle broadcaster's Moscow arm

Russia closes Deutsche Welle broadcaster’s Moscow arm

Russia has said it shut down the operations of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in response to Berlin’s ban on Russian broadcaster RT DE.

Russia‘s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it was closing Deutsche Welle’s Russian bureau, stripping all its staff of their accreditation, and stopping the channel being broadcast on Russian territory.

Germany‘s MABB media watchdog and Commission for Licensing and Supervision (ZAK) of media institutions said this week that RT DE could not broadcast in Germany using a Serbian licence.

Moscow also said it would start proceedings that would see it declared a “foreign agent”, a designation that carries a negative Soviet-era connotation.

The Russian foreign ministry also said it would bar entry to Russia for German officials involved in the move to ban RT DE.

Germany‘s foreign ministry said Moscow’s measures had “no basis whatsoever and represent a renewed strain on German-Russian relations.”

“We firmly reject the comparison between Deutsche Welle and the broadcaster RT DE,” a spokesperson for the ministry said in a statement.

In a statement on its website detailing its retaliatory measures, Russia‘s foreign ministry described the German move as “unfriendly”.

The row comes amid wider tensions with the West over Ukraine that are an early test of political relations between Berlin and Moscow after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took office in December.

The Kremlin said earlier on Thursday that a trip by Scholz to Moscow was on the agenda, but that a date was not yet confirmed.

State-funded Deutsche Welle said it formally protested against the move and would take legal action. “We are being made a pawn here in a way that media only have to experience in autocracies,” Deutsche Welle Director Peter Limbourg said in a statement.

Hendrik Wuest, premier of North Rhine-Westfalia state where Deutsche Welle is headquartered, called Russia‘s action “a massive and deliberate attack on the freedom of press, which we strongly condemn”.

German journalist association DJV called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately lift the ban on Deutsche Welle. “There is no justification for this drastic censorship measure,” said DJV chair Frank Ueberall in a statement.

(Reuters)

 

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