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Luxembourg denies licence for Russia’s RT German channel

Luxembourg has refused to grant a licence for Russian state-backed network RT to broadcast a German-language channel from the country, the authorities said.

“The Luxembourg Department of Media, Telecommunications and Digital Policy concluded that Luxembourg is not the competent jurisdiction for ‘RT auf Deutsch’ as the technical criteria are not met,” the office of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said in a statement sent Saturday.

“As the broadcaster has an office in Germany and a significant part of the workforce involved in the pursuit of the audiovisual media service activity operates in Germany, ‘RT auf Deutsch’ is deemed to be under the jurisdiction of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Kremlin-controlled RT — formerly known as Russia Today — applied for the satellite broadcasting licence in Luxembourg in June to circumvent German regulations blocking licences for state-owned foreign media.

“The Luxembourg government had a certain latitude to refuse the notification. It decided that it was not territorially competent given that all of RT’s resources are in Berlin,” Thierry Hoscheit, president of the Grand Duchy’s independent audiovisual authority, told AFP.

RT said in a statement that it had received the response of the Luxembourg authorities and its lawyers “are reviewing the letter to decide on further steps”.

RT — funded heavily by the Russian state — is widely seen as part of the Kremlin’s overseas propaganda efforts.