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Media Regulator Threatens to Suspend Licence of Independent TV Channel

Published: May 20, 2014 (Issue # 1810)



  • Russia's media watchdog has threatened to suspend the broadcasting license of TV2.
    Photo: Public TV2 / VK

Russia's media watchdog has threatened to suspend the broadcasting license of an independent television channel in the Siberian region of Tomsk, in what its editor and viewers describe as media purges extending deeper into Russia's far-off regions.

TV2 had been off the air since mid-April, when it received a notice about a breakdown at a local broadcasting facility, its editor Viktor Muchnik told Ekho Moskvy radio on Sunday.

Repairs were meant to have been carried out by the state-run Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting System, or RTRS — a monopolist in the region — but have stalled, and media watchdog Roskomnadzor has since threatened to revoke the TV2 license unless it resumes broadcasting, Muchnik told Ekho Moskvy.

"One government structure, RTRS, is in no hurry with the repairs, and another structure — Roskomnadzor — warns us about suspending the license and, as we well understand, revoking it later," he was quoted as saying on the radio station's website.

"We view all this as an attempt to destroy the company and clean up the information field," Muchnik said.

Muchnik said the company had been withstanding government pressure for years.

Russia abolished official state censorship following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but a reader of the Ekho Moskvy website commented that "Roskomnadzor has turned into a censor, which is prohibited by the Constitution, but nobody has noticed that."

A reader from Tomsk commented on the website that "now our turn has come," saying that one of the last independent regional media outlets was about to be shut down.

One of Putin's first moves as president 14 years ago was to preside over the government takeover of the once-independent national television network, NTV. With all national networks now long under Kremlin control, the government took independent channel Dozhd off the air earlier this year, and has moved to clamp down on Internet freedom.

Ekho Moskvy, which has given air time and space on its website to critics of government policies, was named among the top 20 "anti-Russian" news sources by pro-Kremlin monitors earlier this year.

"Producing information that differs from Kremlin propaganda is getting increasingly difficult and, it seems, increasingly unsafe," another reader said on the Ekho Moskvy website. "There is no place to watch the news in Tomsk except for TV2. And perhaps the most people don't want anything except that propaganda."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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