The independent Russian TV station Dozhd, operating in Latvia since July, was deprived of its license by the authorities on Tuesday. The decision of the National Council of Electronic Media was to be taken in connection with “a threat to national security and public order”.
The decision of the Latvian National Council of Electronic Media was announced on Twitter by its chairman Ivars Abolins. “Latvian law must be respected by everyone,” the official wrote.
“Threat to national security and public order”
The “Delfi” portal, referring to Abolins, informs that the decision to withdraw the license was made in connection with “a threat to national security and public order”. A number of recent violations have been taken into account: not providing the national language track for broadcasts, presenting Crimea on the map as part of the territory Russia, calling the Russian army “our army” and possible support for the Russian army. Information received from the security services was also assessed.
Last Thursday, TV journalist Alexei Korostelov said on the air that the station managed to help improve the conditions of Russian soldiers at the front.
Korostelov encouraged on the vision to send messages to a special e-mail address of the station, devoted to topics related to the Russian army. – We answer almost everything. Many of the stories sent to our mail and Telegram are published. We hope that we have been able to help many military men, for example with equipment or simply with basic needs at the front, “he said on the air.
After a wave of indignation and criticism the management of Dozhd television fired Korostelov. This was announced on the air by the head of the news service Yekaterina Kotrikadze. The editor-in-chief of Dozhd Tikhon Dziadko admitted that Korostelov’s statement “gives the viewer the impression that the Dozhd channel is helping the Russian army”, but – as he assured – the station does not do so in any way.
Earlier, Dozhd was fined
On Friday, the Latvian National Council of Electronic Media fined Dozhd 10,000 zlotys. euros for showing Crimea as part of the Russian Federation on the map and for using the phrase “our army” in reference to the Russian armed forces. This is the second significant violation for the station in recent months, Abolins said, without specifying what the first was. He warned that for three such violations, the TV channel could be deprived of its broadcasting license.
The Ukrainian media also noted that the Latvian State Security Service (VDD) announced the initiation of an investigation in connection with Korostelov’s statement. It was noted that in view of Russia’s crimes against Ukraine “any form of support for the aggressor is unacceptable.” This applies to e.g. direct or indirect collection or transfer of funds and other property.
Operating since 2010, the channel, until recently the only independent television station in Russia, was recognized by the Russian authorities as a “foreign agent”. On March 1, Dozhd was blocked in Russia due to the publication of “false information about the actions of Russian troops in the war with Ukraine.”
Main photo source: Ingus Kruklitis/Shutterstock