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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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