Russia Communications Watchdog Threatens "Active Reciprocal Steps" As Facebook Blocks Russia Today Posts Until After Inauguration
Roskomnadzor head Alexei Zharov said the agency could take action against Western news outlets and social media if "unprecedented pressure" on RT "leads to restrictions on operations of the Russian network."
Russia's communications watchdog has threatened it could take "active reciprocal steps" in response to Facebook's decision to block Kremlin-funded, English-language television network Russia Today (RT) from posting on the social network until after Donald Trump's inauguration.
Roskomnadzor head Alexei Zharov was quoted by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying that the agency could make "active reciprocal steps" against Western news outlets and social media if "unprecedented pressure" on RT "leads to restrictions on operations of the Russian network."
Earlier on Thursday, Facebook blocked RT from posting live streams, images and videos until Jan. 21.
RT said in a statement on its website that "a misplaced live streaming rights strike during RT's broadcast of President Obama's final press conference seems to have triggered the ban."
Facebook has not replied to The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.
RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said on the network's website that the complaint about streaming rights, which pushed Facebook to install the ban, originally came from Current Time network, "a part of Radio Liberty, financed by the US Department of State."
"If the Department of State could block oxygen to us, they would do it,” she added.
Facebook's decision "deprives RT of part of its online audiences, creating a competitive advantage for Western networks," Timur Shafir, secretary of the Russian union of journalists, said in a statement.