Public campaign in support of Dozhd TV gathers momentum

posted 3 Feb 2014, 04:39 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Feb 2014, 05:13 ]
31 January 2014

Source: (info)
The scandal around attempts to limit the freedom of expression of Dozhd TV channel is increasingly acquiring resonance. According to sources, the 'opinion' that Dozhd's cable broadcasting should be closed came from 'above'. A public campaign has been started in support of Dozhd.

The cable television operator Beeline has ceased carrying Dozhd TV. Among the regions where Dozhd can no longer be received are Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Smolensk region, says reports.

Media report that Dozhd has been shut down by operators Akado, NTV-plus,, and Rostelekom.

“Many people wrongly think that we have again been connected”, - says Dozhd on Twitter. “But that is not true. They continue to shut us down”.

An online public campaign has been started in support of Dozhd, as well as a call to decline services from those cable operators that have thrown Dozhd out of their broadcasting network.

Nikolai Nikiforov, head of the Ministry of Communications, called the issue around the closure of Dozhd “a question of business relations”.

According to the BBC, the St. Petersburg Prosecutors Office started an investigation into Dozhd after the city's Legislative Assembly addressed the General Prosecutor with the request to take sanctions against the channel.

Члены Московской хартии журналистов и Союз журналистов Петербурга и Ленинградской области выразили "крайнюю озабоченность" ситуацией и предупредили об опасности возрождения цензуры в стране.

The Presidential Human Rights Council in turn has demanded that the General Prosecutor’s Office check the legality of the shut-out of Dozhd by the operators, says Radio Svoboda reports.

Members of the Moscow Charter of Journalists as well as the Union of Journalists of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region have expressed 'the most serious concern' about the situation and warned against the return of censorship to the country.

The Human Rights Council declares that in refusing to carry the channel any longer, operators have taken on the role of censor and are in violation of Article 29 of the Russian constitution.

The Union of Journalists has commented on the inadmissibility of halting the carrying of Dozhd by cable networks.

"We regard the action of the providers, which have stopped broadcasting Dozhd, not only as an obvious corporate conspiracy, but also as an attempt to establish some kind of ‘moral censorship’ in the country and thus to limit the citizens' right to free access to information as guaranteed by the Constitution. We insist that the prosecutor's office view the situation from this point of view, and takes appropriate steps as laid down by the law," the Secretariat of the Union of Journalists of Russia said in a statement.

“It is no coincidence that the critics of Dozhd have not been able to clearly formulate their complaints. And it is fully obvious that none of the laws currently operative in the country have been violated by the journalists”, the statement stressed.

The Federal Telecommunications Agency Roskomnadzor believes that by conducting a poll dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the ending of the blockade of Leningrad, Dozhd TV violated the law on media, with regard to respecting the legitimate rights and interests of citizens. In a letter, Roskomnadzor warned the channel’s editors of the "inadmissibility of similar violations in the future."

Translated by Eva Cukier