Latvia shuts down Russian broadcaster over Ukraine war coverage

TV Rain studio in Moscow, Russia. File photo
Image caption,TV Rain has been told by Latvia’s media regulator it must stop broadcasting on 8 December
Russia’s last independent television channel, TV Rain, has been shut down in Latvia after less than five months on air. The channel, which is known as Dozhd in Russian, has been accused of showing content that supports Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. TV Rain has called the allegations “unfair and absurd” in a post on social media. It has been ordered to stop broadcasting on 8 December. TV Rain says it will obey the order but will remain on YouTube, which is where most of its audience watches its content. However, it will no longer be able to broadcast on cable television inside Latvia, which has a large Russian-speaking population. The National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia’s media regulator, said the decision to revoke the licence was taken “in connection with threats to national security and public order”. Earlier this month, the regulator fined the channel €10,000 (£8,613; $10,488) for displaying a map in which occupied Crimea was shown as part of Russia’s territory. It was also censured for calling the Russian army “our army” in a piece about how to provide recruits with supplies. One of the broadcaster’s hosts, Alexei Korostelyov, was fired as a result. The decision has been criticised by many opposition figures in Russia, who argue that TV Rain is an important source of independent information for Russian-speakers about the war. “There is Putin, who started the war. There is TV Rain, which tells the truth about Putin and about the war. Stripping TV Rain of its licence only helps Putin,” said Kira Yarmysh, press secretary to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The charity Reporters Without Borders called the move a “serious blow to freedom of information”. The channel, which has long been critical of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, was blocked in Russia in early March, just days after Moscow invaded Ukraine. Many employees then fled Russia, and later started work on rebuilding Dozhd abroad. It is one of several independent media outlets to have moved its operations to Latvia. Exiled journalists from the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta launched a new publication in May this year, while German public broadcaster DW relocated its Moscow-based operations. The Meduza news website has been based in Latvia since the Ukrainian crisis began in 2014, and the BBC Russian service is also now based in Latvia after reporting restrictions were imposed in Russia. Latvia’s State Security Service (VDD) has been investigating the incident at TV Rain and said it has repeatedly warned about the “various risks emanating from Russia’s so-called independent media relocating their activity to Latvia”. The VDD said these risks include the possible connections of media representatives to Russian intelligence and security services, as well as the danger posed if Moscow sought to target Latvia as part of measures to influence public opinion online and elsewhere. Commenting on its decision to revoke TV Rain’s broadcasting licence, NEPLP added that it “was convinced that the management of TV Rain did not understand the nature and gravity of each individual infringement, nor of any set of infringements”. https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77745 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77740 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77735 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76311 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77725 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78089 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78074 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77705 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77700 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78013 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76296 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76291 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76281 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77680 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76276 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77665 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77988 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77660 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77978 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78014 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76261 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77745/+beIN_SPORTS_Switzerland_vs_Portugal_Live_Stream%F0%9D%9A%81 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77740/++ESPN_TVshowFIFA_World_Cup_2022_Switzerland_vs_Po https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77735/++RedditStreamS_Switzerland_vs_Portugal_Live_Strea https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76311/RedditStreamS_Switzerland_vs_Portugal_Live_StreamR https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77725/++LIVESTREAMSTV_FIFA_World_Cup_2022_Switzerland_vs https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78089/OfficialRedditFIFA_World_Cup_Switzerland_vs_Portug https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78074/CrackstreamsSwitzerland_vs_Portugal_Live_StreamRed https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77705/RedditStreams_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_Live_StreamR https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77700/+RedditStreamS_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_Live_Stream https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78013/Blacktie_Sports_-_Free_Reddit_Switzerland_vs_Portu https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76296/SLING_TV_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_LIVE_STREAM_12062 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76291/FUBO_TV_Switzerland_vs_Portugal_Free_LIVE_STREAM_1 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76281/YOUTUBE_TV_Switzerland_vs_Portugal_Free_LIVE_STREA https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77680/JIOCINEMA_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_Free_LIVE_STREAM https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76276/HULU_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_Free_LIVE_STREAM_1206 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77665/TOTAL_SPORTEK_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_Free_LIVE_ST https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77988/Reddit_FIFA_World_Cup_2022_StreamS_-_Portugal_vs_S https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77660/Switzerland_vs_Portugal_Live_Stream_Reddit_amp_Cra https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/77978/+FREE_STREAMING_Watch_Switzerland_vs_Portugal_Live https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78014/%F0%9D%90%8B%F0%9D%90%88%F0%9D%90%95%F0%9D%90%84%F0%9D%90%92%F0%9D%90%93%F0%9D%90%91%F0%9D%90%84%F0%9D%90%80%F0%9D%90%8CTV_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_Liv https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/76261/+beIN_SPORTS_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_Live_Streamin https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/78004/++WATCHFREE_Portugal_vs_Switzerland_LiveStream_Onl Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “some always think that there is a place better than home, that there is always more freedom than at home. This is one of the clearest examples that shows that these are the wrong illusions”.

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