06:02 GMT09 May 2021
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    Russia’s media watchdog has noted in a press release that YouTube restricted access to Russian media accounts nine times and censored their content three times last year. In the four months of this year, the platform suspended three Russian media accounts and blocked their content five times.

    YouTube has been routinely censoring Russian media content on its platform, Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) said in a press release on Saturday.

    According to the watchdog, the Google-owned video platform uses age restrictions as a pretext to censor content. The agency complained that various videos that were published on Russian channels for a general audience were only accessible to authorised YouTube users after they confirmed they were adults.

    Roskomnadzor noted that YouTube blocks videos that present a "different stance" to the one accepted in the West on issues such as Russia's role in the victory over fascism and the tragic events in Beslan, among others.

    The watchdog recalled that the platform had once blocked an address by President Vladimir Putin that was posted on the account of a Russian federal channel, explaining later that it was "an accident".

    Additionally, YouTube restricted access to videos containing the Russian national anthem over "copyright infringement", claiming that the rights belonged to a private company.

    Roskomnadzor concluded that such conduct undermines key principles of freedom of the press and qualifies as censorship that restricts the access of Russian Internet users to relevant content.

    At the same time, YouTube has been reluctant to block harmful material containing child pornography as well as propaganda for extremism, drug use, and suicide, with some 6,000 examples of such material having been detected by Roskomnadzor since 2012 that still remain on the platform.

    Russia, censorship, YouTube
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