MOSCOW, August 18 (RAPSI) – Chair of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council Valery Fadeyev has sent a letter to the U.S. Google office asking to clarify the reasons behind blockings of YouTube channels run by Russian mass media outlets, according to a statement on the body’s official website.

The Council explains that the letter was written due to complaints of the blocked channels owners, who allege that YouTube administrators acted in violation of law, whereas the civic activists view unjustified blockings as a manifestation of censorship and attempts to influence freedom of speech and expression.

According to the Council, about 200 Russian channels have been blacklisted by YouTube administrators in the last few years.

Members of the Council stress that the standard YouTube procedure envisages that the first step is to be a notification of violation citing concrete points of the user agreement; nevertheless, Russian resources were blocked without such warnings and YouTube administrators failed to point out the concrete provisions they believed were breached by the blocked channels just mentioning “rules of the community,” or YouTube user agreement in general terms.

Expressing its concern with such a practice employed by YouTube administration, the Council asks it to inform its Standing Commission on Freedom of Information and Rights of Journalists on the nature of alleged violations causing YouTube to block Russian channels and bloggers without the right to resume their operations, and to explain why the blockings were made outside of the standard procedure.

Earlier, a similar request has been sent to the Google office in Russia; however, its CEO was not eager to cooperate saying in his official reply that the issue in question was in the competence of Google central office in California.