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Germany has banned a news channel funded by the Russian government in a move that...

Germany has banned a news channel funded by the Russian government in a move that risks opening up a new front in the West’s confrontation with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine.
RT has been blocked from returning to Germany’s airwaves by the nation’s media regulator after failing to secure the “necessary broadcasting licence”.
The move marks an escalation in Berlin’s clampdown on the German-language broadcast of RT, which was taken off air shortly after it launched in December. 
An outright ban that keeps RT off Germany’s terrestrial TV networks has the potential to inflame tensions with the Russian President, who has accused America and its allies over trying to draw the country into a war in Ukraine. 
The Kremlin has amassed about 10,000 Russian troops at Ukraine’s border in the first steps towards a potential invasion as it accuses America of ignoring concerns over the expansion of the West’s military alliance NATO. 
RT reported last week that Moscow was preparing a series of countermeasures to the station being blocked in Germany.
These included stopping German firms advertising in Russia, or stripping German broadcasters DW Deutsch and DW-TV from the nation’s airwaves.
RT has faced accusations of pedaling Kremlin-backed propaganda after expanding its English language service into the UK and America since launching in 2005.
The German-language version of RT began airing on December 16 after RT reported that it had overcome a series of setbacks, including the refusal of German lenders to work with the broadcaster and Luxembourg knocking back its attempts to secure a licence. 
It believed it had secured a valid German licence through Serbia under the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, according to a RT report.
RT Germany now has a month to appeal against the ban in court and planned to do so.
Anna Belkina, RT’s deputy editor-in-chief, said: “It is ironic that just the idea of a new TV news channel with a different voice appearing in Germany has made the local authorities, including the regulator MABB, so nervous and desperate as to abandon their much-touted principles such as freedom of speech.”
RT lost a challenge at the British Court of Appeal in November after being slapped with a £200,000 fine by the media regulator Ofcom for breaching impartiality rules around reports about the war in Syria and the Salisbury poisonings.
Germany’s decision to pull the plug on RT echoes Ofcom’s decision to revoke the licence of the Chinese state broadcaster CGTN in February last year when it breached regulations for televising an alleged force confession of UK citizen Peter Humphrey. 
The Chinese state retaliated by banning BBC World News from broadcasting in the country over its reports on the treatment of the ethnic minority Uighurs. 
The BBC had been calling for more funding for the World Service to help it combat the rise of fake news and the expansionist ambitions of Russian and Chinese broadcasters.
The Foreign Office agreed to provide the World Service with £954.4m in May, including £8m to tackle disinformation. 

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