Tsargrad TV, a news channel owned by a sanctioned Russian businessman, said it had abandoned negotiations with Google to unblock its YouTube account and accused the US group of delaying negotiations on Monday.
Google is the subject of a Moscow court order that requires it to unblock the YouTube account of Tsargrad TV, a Christian Orthodox channel owned by Konstantin Malofeev, subject to financial sanctions by the United States and the European Union, but The ruling was appealed in May.
Both parties in the case stated that the appeal hearing was originally scheduled to be held on Monday, but it has been postponed to September 20. Tsargrad TV stated that the postponement is to allow the court more time to become familiar with the new documents brought by Google.
The dispute with YouTube is one of many cases in which the US technology and social media giants have angered Russia. Russia has imposed fines on Google and other companies for failing to delete content that it considers illegal, as well as other violations, including failure to localize user data.
Tsargrad TV said on Monday that Google’s lawyers were not involved in constructive conversations. It said in a statement: “There is a feeling that Google is deliberately delaying any negotiation process and procrastinating.”
In response to a request for comment, Google (part of Alphabet) only stated that the hearing had been postponed to September 20.
Tsargrad TV stated that YouTube blocked its account in July 2020 without providing any reason. Google said at the time that its policy was to suspend accounts found to violate sanctions or trade restrictions.
In April, the Moscow Arbitration Court stated that Google must restore Tsargrad’s account or face a daily fine of 100,000 rubles (approximately 100,000 rupees). If Google fails to comply, the fine will double every week. These fines have not yet been levied before the outcome of the appeal.
Malofiev was sanctioned by the United States and the European Union in 2014 for being accused of funding pro-Moscow separatists to fight in Ukraine, but he denied this. Russia believes that such Western sanctions are illegal.
© Thomson Reuters 2021