Luxembourg says will not grant licence to Russia's RT
Russian broadcaster RT - often seen as a state propaganda channel - failed to secure a licence for its German-language channel in Luxembourg, with the government telling the Luxembourg Times on Friday Germany was in charge of the matter, not the Grand Duchy.
"Luxembourg is not competent for the television programme 'RT in German'", the office of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said on Friday. Bettel's ministry of state is also responsible for media and communications.
RT – formerly known as Russia Today –had sought a licence to broadcast its German language channel from Luxembourg to circumvent a German ban on broadcasts from foreign state-funded companies, media said in June.
On Friday, the ministry confirmed that it had received a request from RT parent ANO "TV-NOVOSTI", to distribute a German-language television programme "RT auf Deutsch" via satellite on 15 June.
But because the media service provider maintains a registered office in Germany and has a substantial headcount in Berlin, the programme is subject to the jurisdiction of Germany, the ministry said.
Luxembourg had contacted the German authorities to ensure that an EU directive for audiovisual media was correctly applied, the ministry said.
An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung said there had been a meeting between Luxembourg's intelligence agency SREL, the media regulator ALIA, diplomats and their German counterparts about the possible application of a German-language channel by RT to stream from December.
RT would have submit an application to the Mediananstalt Berlin-Brandenburg (mabb) to obtain a licence, the German state regulator said in an email on Thursday, before Luxembourg announced its decision. "This has not yet been done. If such an application is filed, the media authorities will examine the case, including the aspect of state neutrality", the mabb said.
"All RT international licencing processes are still proceeding in accordance with all the requirements, laws and regulations of all relevant authorities involved, in proper jurisdictions," RT said in an email on Thursday.
RT's English-language channel is already available on Luxembourg TV.