German media regulators have begun proceedings against the Russian international broadcaster RT following the launch of a new German-language TV service.
In an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Eva Flecken, director of the Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg, described the transmissions as “questionable”.
The media authority says RT has neither applied for nor been granted a broadcasting licence. RT now has until the end of the year to comment on the matter, when the media authority could choose to ban the channel and issue a fine of up to half a million euros.
A German-language version of the controversial channel has been in the works for some time. Since Thursday a live stream has been made available on RT’s German website. The channel is also transmitted via satellite, thanks to a licence obtained from the pro-Russian administration in Serbia.
However, in order to broadcast in Germany, a local licence is required with the condition that a broadcaster is independent of the state or have any influence from government. An earlier attempt to gain a licence in Luxembourg has already failed.
In a statement, RT said the European Convention on Transfrontier Broadcasting allowed it to broadcast to Germany through the Serbian licence. But Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg said the programme is produced by RT DE Productions GmbH, which is based in Berlin and consequently falls under German jurisdiction.