Roku, DirecTV drop Russian-backed RT channel

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After initially dropping the Russia-backed news channel RT in Europe, Roku says it is now dropping the channel from its Roku Channel Store everywhere — including in its US market.

The company confirmed the carriage change to The Verge late Tuesday. Roku spokesperson Kimberly Sampson said in a statement: “We are removing RT from the Roku Channel Store everywhere, including the US.” The company had earlier confirmed the channel was being yanked from its European market.

The streamer’s decision follows a similar move from DirecTV. Company spokesperson Nicholas Ammazzalorso told The Verge in a statement on Tuesday that DirecTV is “accelerating this year’s contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately.”

DirecTV had already been weighing whether to keep the channel on its service but moved the timeline up from mid-2022 amid the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. Axios previously reported the provider was dropping the channel.

Roku and DirecTV were two of the largest providers to carry the channel in the US, along with Dish Networks. When contacted on Tuesday about whether it also planned to drop the channel, Dish spokesperson Caroline Krause told The Verge: “Our thoughts are with all the people of Ukraine, and particularly with our team members in the country. We are closely monitoring the situation.”

The companies join a number of other major content distributors taking a stance against Russian-backed media following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Netflix said Monday that it had “no plans” to add a number of state-run propaganda channels to its service after being told last year that it would be required to late last year. YouTube, meanwhile, has blocked both RT and Russian news channel Sputnik in Europe.

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