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Russian Opposition TV Channel Faces Closure Threats Over WWII Poll
30.01.2014 09:20
Russian Opposition TV Channel Faces Closure Threats Over WWII Poll

On Wednesday, Lawmakers in St. Petersburg called authorities to consider closing an independent television channel that caused outrage by holding a poll asking viewers if Leningrad should have been surrendered to the Nazis.

      Leningrad, which is now named St. Petersburg, lost up to 1.5 million people while under siege during World War II.

      The liberal-leaning Dozhd ("Rain") television channel, which famous for its open criticism of the government and is available online and via some cable providers, asked in an online poll earlier this week whether the city should have been surrendered “to save hundreds of thousands of lives.” The poll was held to coincide with the imminent celebration of the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the Leningrad siege, which took place on  Monday.

      The channel then received a lot of angry messages and phone calls and hastily took down the poll and said on Twitter that the incident was “a mistake by the producer … and the social network editor.” A screenshot of the poll made available on Twitter showed 54 percent supporting the would-be surrender of Leningrad. The number of respondents was not specified.

      However, that wasn't enough for some Russian officials. In a resolution backed by 34 of St. Petersburg legislature’s 50 deputies, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika is requested to “conduct an investigation into provocative material posted on the website of the Dozhd television channel … and, if just cause is found, take appropriate measures, including shutting down the channel.”

      Several major Russian cable and satellite TV companies have already said they will stop broadcasting the Dozhd channel.

      Independent media has for more than a decade been subject to pressure from the authorities eager to keep a tight limit on critical reporting. Some critics are convinced there is no freedom of press in Russia. The situation with Dozhd is likely to reignite concerns over media freedoms in Russia as the country readies for the international exposure of the Winter Olympics.


Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: freedom of press in Russia Russian television Dozhd TV channel World War II  

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