The ban, which was for a period of 72 hours but lifted on Thursday (January 19) evening, followed RT’s use of a legitimate stream of President Obama’s final press conference from the Associated Press (AP).
Although it was claimed that the TV channel Current Time, which is part of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe, had made a complaint about RT’s use of the stream, this was denied by Current Time.
During the temporary ban, which had it not been lifted earlier would have hit coverage of Donald Trump’s inauguration, RT was only able to post text messages on Facebook.
The Moscow Times reports there has been a strong reaction to the temporary ban in Russia. Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, blamed the incident on the “familiar problem” of discrimination in the media against Russia, calling it “censorship as an instrument of competitive battle.”
Russian state censors have also threatened “countermeasures,” if not against Facebook then against unspecified US news organisations.
Meanwhile, Alexander Zharov, the head of the regulator Roskomnadzor, said: „many American media outlets work in Moscow, including TV channels. They have the same rights and opportunities as Russian outlets. Yet, if American social networks continue to place this unprecedented pressure on RT, we will be forced to take countermeasures.”