We learned on May 20 that the US YouTube video hosting site has removed the accounts of Krym 24 Crimean television channel, as well as two Russian-language news agencies, Anna News and News Front.
Krym 24 is one of Crimea’s most popular sources of information. It is part of Crimea’s largest media holding company, Krym Television and Radio Company, operating through five television channels, three radio stations, a news portal and two websites. The Krym 24 team traditionally covers the most important major news in this Russian region.
Now that the Krym 24 account has been removed from YouTube, about 30,000 subscribers have lost access to videos with tens of millions of viewings. This US-owned platform has taken restrictive measures under the clearly far-fetched pretext of a “hosting rules violation.”
The fact that YouTube failed to provide any convincing evidence to clarify its actions, as well as the fact that the channel’s query remains unanswered, is unacceptable.
As you may be aware, on April 17, US-based Google LLC blocked the Federal News Agency’s account and the associated YouTube account, which resulted in removal of tens of thousands of documentaries and news reports posted by the agency. On an earlier occasion, in January 2019, Facebook moderators deleted, over 500 accounts related to Russia, including Sputnik news agency materials, on a far-fetched pretext.
These are just some examples of US online censorship of Russian news portals.
We consider YouTube’s actions as another act of discrimination against Russian-language media resources from US-controlled online platforms that systematically resort to arbitrary censorship of content in the Russian language.
This policy by US authorities represents a gross violation of US international obligations to ensure free and unfettered access to information, freedom of the media and freedom of expression.
We call on the related international agencies and human rights NGOs to respond to these egregious actions.