Lawsuit over Russia Today blockade: ‘Prohibition affects the rule of law’

After some uncertainty about the scope of the ban, most Dutch providers not only removed the channels from their package, but in most cases also blocked the associated websites. Also in Germany, Spain, Belgium and Italy, one or more providers opted for a blockade, NOS correspondents noticed. Incidentally, most Dutch providers no longer offered the channel.

The way in which that ban came about is a thorn in the side of the journalists’ union NVJ. “It’s up to governments and parliaments to come up with regulations, and then judges and media authorities have to apply those rules,” Bruning said. “Now ministers say with their own hands: we come up with a new rule, and we immediately apply it.”

net neutrality

Apart from that, the measure goes very far, according to the parties behind the lawsuit. “The legislator has told us that as a provider we must be neutral and not interfere with the content,” says Scholte ter Horst. “This would be the first time that that principle of net neutrality has been compromised because of disinformation. This is a threat to the open internet.”

Bruning: “With a ban, you prevent anyone from being able to request that information, including scientists and journalists. We do not think it is up to European government leaders to determine what can and cannot be found on the internet.”

Not only Freedom participates in the process, hosting and internet providers such as BIT, MijnDomein and A2B have also joined. Major parties such as KPN and Ziggo are missing.