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According to BBC News the Russian duma's YouTube channel was blocked. What is the reason for that given that this would potentially mean that YouTube will be banned in Russia and the alternative access to independent information channels would be cut off?

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    I have no doubt that Russian parliament will be pro war etc, however is th banning worth the risk of depriving Russian society of information alternative to official government propaganda Apr 9, 2022 at 12:55
  • There are plenty of other sources of "information alternatives", e.g. Telegram hosts RFE/RL, BBC, The Guardian, and everything from pro-russian to anti-russian propaganda, as well as allowing video uploads. Russia tried and failed to block Telegram, and now the state is actively using it itself, so it's unlikely they'll try to censor it again. As for YouTube in Russia, I'm not sure if it's a news source, instead being more of an entertainment and education source. Apr 10, 2022 at 21:26

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While I haven't seen anything detailed about his Duma TV ban by YT, it's worth recalling that about a month ago (when they took down RT globally) they had announced

YouTube is immediately blocking access around the world to channels associated with Russian state-funded media, it said on Friday, citing a policy barring content that denies, minimises or trivialises well-documented violent events. [...]

YouTube spokesman Farshad Shadloo said the blocking of the Russian outlets was in line with that policy.

Frankly, taken at face value, that would have probably meant they should have banned other Russian channels besides RT, back then, probably including Duma's.

As my own limited sampling has shown, the Russian MoD's channel (with 1M subscribers) is still on YT, although I did notice that some Ukraine-related Russian MoD videos that were previously easy to find are now "unlisted" (e.g. one showing Russian paratroopers disembark at Hostomel). So it does appear that YT is tightening the screws on that previously announced policy, although the steps and schedule aren't exactly announced in advance.

Also, if the ban on Duma TV is (indeed) global, that probably excludes that it is as a result of a letter from the EU, which is how YT's parent company has taken some related steps, e.g. removing RT from web search results (just in the EU).

It may or it may not be a concidence that the ban on Duma TV comes around the time that the Ukrainians have retaken areas north of Kyiv, where they and the international press have highlighted some (alleged) war crimes. The Russian media has tried to portray these as staged, which I'm guessing might have been the position taken by some Russian MPs too. (Both the Kremlin and the Russian MoD have dismissed these allegations on similar grounds.)

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According to news reports, the channel was "terminated for a violation of YouTube's Terms of Service." YouTube is a commercial entity with a long history of deciding what content violates their TOS, without judicial or government oversight. A number of countries tried to make YouTube comply with local laws, with mixed success. The lever to do that is usually YouTube's advertising revenue.

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There are two primary options:

  • YouTube was explicitly told to do that, by a channel that they obey. Who could that be is left as an exercise for a reader.
  • YouTube decided to show an initiative ("проявил инициативу" in Russian), deciding that their Russian business is less important than sending the correct political signals right now. They were not running ads in Russia anyway, starting late February, by that basically giving every Russian an YouTube Premium.

YouTube has also banned a channel by Yuri Polodyaka recently, a vlogger who reiterated the current course of Russian military action in a calm voice, whose only apparent crime before YouTube was his 3M of subscribers. I'm repeating this as my earlier comment on that matter has mysteriously disappeared.

YouTube got a lot of leniency from the Russian government despite banning official Russian TV channels, since you go to YouTube to watch how to assemble your baby stroller, not to mention courses posted by Russian education institutions - it was too big to get rid of. I can see them burn it through, however, and getting banned in the future.

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    Not sure if this is the Yuri channel you mentioned or if that's just a set of translations. But he seem to know a whole lot of foreign languages to subtitle in (those aren't YT-generated subtitles), even though he only ever speaks Russian. So, either he has a ton of fans doing the translations or it's a thinly veiled state-backed operation. As for the content, it's much more propagandistic than you portray it: he claims Ukrainians clearly staged everything etc. Apr 9, 2022 at 18:16
  • This is some sort of translation/reupload channel.
    – alamar
    Apr 9, 2022 at 18:36

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