YouTube blocks Russian parliament channel, drawing ire from officials


FILE PHOTO: YouTube logo at the YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, United States October 21, 2015./File Photo

(Reuters) -YouTube has blocked Duma TV which broadcasts from Russia's lower house of parliament, drawing an angry response from officials who said the world's most popular streaming service could face restrictions in response.

On Saturday, a message on YouTube said the Duma channel had been "terminated for a violation of YouTube's Terms of Service".

YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc's, has been under pressure from Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and officials were quick to respond.

"From the look of it, YouTube has signed its own warrant. Save content, transfer (it) to Russian platforms. And hurry up," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on the Telegram messaging service.

The communications watchdog said it had requested Google restore access to the Duma channel immediately.

"The American IT company adheres to a pronounced anti-Russian position in the information war unleashed by the West against our country," Roskomnadzor said.

Google told Reuters in an emailed comment that is was committed to compliance with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws.

"If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes."

Vyacheslav Volodin, the Duma's speaker, said YouTube's move was further proof of rights and freedom violations by Washington.

"The USA wants to obtain a monopoly on promoting information. We cannot let it happen," Volodin said on Telegram.

Russia has already restricted access to Twitter and Meta Platforms' flagships Facebook and Instagram since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Russia had earlier tried to ban the Telegram messaging app, now widely used by officials, but lifted its ban in mid-2020.

Some Russian media cast the move as a capitulation, but Roskomnadzor said it had acted as it did because the app's Russian founder, Pavel Durov, was prepared to cooperate in combating terrorism and extremism on the platform.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Jason Neely)

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