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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, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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