Germany’s media regulator has declared RT DE a German-based broadcaster, siding with the Berlin-Brandenburg authorities in attempting to shut down the outlet’s operations. This comes after the German government denied putting any pressure on the channel.
The Commission on Licensing and Supervision (ZAK), the central organ of Germany’s Medienanstalten agency, declared on February 2 that the Media Authority of Berlin-Brandenburg (MABB) was correct in declaring RT DE Productions GmbH a German-based broadcaster, subject to the country’s laws and regulations.
RT DE now has four weeks to appeal the decision in court, which it is planning to do.
RT DE productions said that “MABB is seeking to falsely portray RT DE Productions, which is an independent production company, as the broadcaster of the RT DE TV channel, based in Moscow. We cannot fathom why a supposedly informed and independent regulator would seek to act on what appears to be purely political motivations, under the auspices of a false version of reality, bent to their intentions. By permitting its regulator to act in such a way Germany is telling other nations who abide by European Conventions that it is one rule for them and another for you.”
Anna Belkina, RT’s deputy editor in chief said that “it is ironic that just the idea of a new TV news channel with a different voice appearing in Germany has made the local authorities, including the regulator MABB, so nervous and desperate, as to abandon their much-touted principles such as freedom of speech.”
In mid-January, the German media reported that MABB had handed the matter over to ZAK since it was a “nationwide issue.”
RT DE Productions previously argued that, as its name clearly spelled out, it was a production company based in Berlin that produced content for the broadcaster based in Russia. The TV signal came from Moscow and had been beamed into Germany via satellite, on a broadcasting license secured in Serbia in 2021. While German media declared that license worthless, it is legally binding under the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT), of which both Berlin and Belgrade are signatories.