- The Russian state feels that YouTube is blatantly censoring the country’s traditional values.
- This is happening at the same time the video platform is refusing to remove dangerous content.
- YouTube is presented as the most renegade internet platform in Russia, but the authorities are doing nothing more than fining it.
The Russian internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has issued a statement against Google, the owner of YouTube, accusing the video platform of blatant censorship on whatever has to do with core Russian cultural values. The incident that sparked this move was blocking the YouTube channel of Aleksey Pushkov, a member of the Russian government senate.
The politician has posted a video discussing the problems around sex education for young children and where traditional family values fit into it. YouTube found the proposed ideas anachronistic and dangerous, and the Russian state found the censorship action insulting.
As such, Roskomnadzor is now sending a letter to Google and YouTube, characterizing the blocking as a violation of the key principles of free dissemination of information, constituting an act of censorship, and violating the provisions of the Russian laws and the country’s constitution.
In addition to the recent events, Roskomnadzor doesn’t fail to mention YouTube’s overall stance, which is indicative of a systematic censorship approach, at least according to the Russians. As the letter details, YouTube is involved in 30 cases of censorship done in a similar context, targeting Russian publications from Russia Today, Russia 24, NTV, TVTs, VZGLYAD, and others.
And then there’s YouTube's unwillingness to comply with removal requests sent by the Russian state, ignoring most of them and just keeping the videos online. The watchdog mentions a compliance rate of only 20.8% on the 24,000 reports it has sent to YouTube.
As the agency mentions, some of the material that wasn’t removed by the American video platform includes ISIS propaganda, pro-narcotic, and other socially dangerous content. Of course, some of these cases may be exaggerated, and some of these rejected reports may have to do with attachments to obsolete ideals.
If you want to watch the video and judge for yourself, it is still available on Rutube.ru. As for what happens between the two parties from now on, Roskomnadzor will continue fining Google and YouTube - and the American companies will almost certainly continue to respond to the accusations and the demands for content censorship selectively.