YouTube has decided to axe Russian state broadcasters Russia Today and Sputnik in the UK and Europe as big tech firms take Kremlin-backed media offline.
From this morning, users were met with the message “this channel is not available in your country”, with Youtube’s move echoing Meta and Twitter’s action.
YouTube said: “Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately. It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.”
The media regulator Ofcom is yet to make a decision on whether to take Russia Today off UK television.
It revealed yesterday that it had opened 15 investigations into the “due impartiality” of programming on the channel following calls from the government and campaigners.
Ofcom’s chief Dame Melanie Dawes said: “Given the scale and gravity of the crisis in Ukraine, audiences expect to be able to trust and rely on duly impartial broadcast news.”
“When reporting on an armed conflict, we recognise it can be difficult for broadcasters to verify information and events, but it is imperative that they make every effort to do so. They must also explain clearly to audiences where there is uncertainty or where events are disputed.”
“Given the serious on-going situation in Ukraine, we will be concluding our investigations into RT as a matter of urgency”, she added.