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Dozhd Gets 50-Day Lifeline After Telethon

Published: April 1, 2014 (Issue # 1803)



  • Crew members at Dozhd’s studios filming as a host conducts an interview with a guest during a fundraiser.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

Independent television channel Dozhd has extended its operation for at least 50 days in a fundraising campaign launched to save the channel after major cable networks refused to air it.

The money was collected during a week-long telethon from March 24 to 30 that sold yearly subscriptions to Dozhd, souvenirs featuring the Dozhd logo and tickets to a gala, as well as through public donations and sales of advertising space on the channel's website. The telethon sought to bring freedom of the press into the spotlight, even inviting guests on air to discuss the topic.

Related: Dozhd TV Fomenting a Hipster Revolution

Dozhd, which is known for covering opposition activities, found itself in hot water earlier this year after publishing a poll that asked whether Leningrad should have been surrendered during the Nazi siege to save hundreds of thousands of lives. The poll triggered complaints from officials, and cable operators subsequently dropped the channel, though they said the move had nothing to do with the poll.

Last week, Dozhd owner Alexander Vinokurov said the channel would still have to shut down if its landlord did not reconsider extending the lease for the channel's headquarters beyond June 20. Vinokurov said that hiring a new space and preparing it for the channel's operation would require millions of dollars and more than 18 months' time.

Related: Lawsuits Pour Into St. Petersburg Courts Over Dozhd Poll

But Dozhd spokeswoman Darya Simonenko said by phone Monday that Dozhd would not have to shut down if it lost its office, and that the channel's representatives would soon hold a news conference about the channel's plans. The date had not yet been set, she said.

There is hope among some of Dozhd's anchors that the channel may continue to produce video reports remotely even if the office is lost, three anchors told The Moscow Times last week.

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