Will YouTube be Banned in Russia?

  • It is plausible that the channel was blocked because the Orthodox Church does not recognize the LGBT community.
  • Fair and equal treatment should be given to everyone.
  • The Kremlin's Presidential Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, made a statement pertaining to the situation with Tsargrad TV being blocked.

This week, YouTube blocked Russia’s Tsargrad TV channel on its platform. There is no official explanation given for the removal of the channel. The channel is for the religious audience in Russia, and the only Russians who watch that channel are super-religious. Hence, blocking that channel is very odd.

Tsargrad TV is a Russian television channel owned by Konstantin Malofeev. He hired former Fox News producer Jack Hanick to help him launch the channel. The channel started broadcasting in 2015. It is known for being conservative, espousing Orthodox Christianity, and supporting Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. Some 41.1% of Russians profess the Orthodox faith.

It is plausible that the channel was blocked because the Orthodox Church does not recognize the LGBT community. Furthermore, the Deputy Manager of the Moscow Patriarchate, Bishop Savva (Tutunov) of Zelenogradsk, commented on the precedent that Google Corporation and YouTube, which it controls.

The Hierarch, on his Telegram channel, noted that the blocking of the account of Tsargrad is a diversion against thought, as well as a work to degrade the Russian people. He stressed that the issue with YouTube is not only a problem of censorship, but also of content.

Unfortunately, the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church notes that videos are often provided only for entertainment on the video platform. The share of developing content viewed is not negligible, but small, he adds. There is also a suggestion to limit YouTube in Russia, and to have a Russian-owned alternative.

Moreover, if YouTube wants to sensor channels, it should also include Sharia-supporting channels and ultra-conservative Evangelicals, not just Orthodox channels. The tolerance, inclusion, and diversity is important. However, fair and equal treatment should be given to everyone. Hence, if YouTube is going to sensor religious channels, it has to be even.

Dmitry Sergeyevich Peskov is a Russian diplomat, translator and Turkologist. Since 2012, Peskov has been the Press Secretary for the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin’s Presidential Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, made a statement pertaining to the situation with Tsargrad TV being blocked.

“There is a solution – not to depend on the Western platforms,” Peskov said. “Any Western platform is a private platform, which can throw you out along with your account at any moment. There are no rules there – neither rules, nor guarantees,” he added. According to Peskov, “all these websites” should be treated “with a low degree of trust.”

At the same time, it is an interesting statement coming from Peskov, when in fact is his wife owns property in the elite area of New York City. According to the documentation, the property is mortgaged through Deutsche Bank, and was purchased on March 9.

This is especially interesting, given Russia being a threat to the US for intelligence and election meddling. Therefore, if one is going to make anti-West statements, they should not be owning property in the country they claim to dislike.

YouTube is a private platform and has every right to ban anyone it deems fit. It would be helpful for YouTube to clarify the reason for the ban of Tsargrad TV.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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