Latvia has canceled the independent Russian TV channel Dozhd (Rain) broadcasting license due to suspicions it was helping Russia in its ongoing war against Ukraine.
The Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) approved a decision to deprive Dozhd of its broadcasting license due to the threat to its national security and public order, Ivars Āboliņš, chairman of NEPLP, confirmed.
According to him, the management of the TV channel “does not realize the significance and seriousness of violations; therefore, it cannot operate in Latvia.”
The decision will come into force on Dec. 8.
The scandal over support for the Russian army
The scandal, which led to the license cancellation, came just days after anchor Alexey Korostelyov asked viewers on Dec. 1 to send in information about the under-equipping of mobilized Russians on the front line and expressed the hope that Dozhd had been able to help many soldiers with equipment.
“We hope we were able to help many servicemen, including, for example, with equipment and just basic amenities on the front,” he said.
A few hours later, Dozhd TV editor-in-chief Tikhon Dzyadko wrote on his Telegram channel that Korostelyov’s phrase “creates a feeling in the viewer” that Dozhd is interested in helping the Russian army. He assured that the channel “is not engaged and will not be engaged in helping to equip the Russian army — at the front or beyond.”
Dzyadko apologized to viewers and said that the host’s phrase about helping the Russian military was removed from the broadcast recordings.
The State Security Service of Latvia (VDD) started an investigation on Dec. 2 into Korostelyov’s statements regarding the channel’s assistance to Russian occupation troops in Ukraine.
Just days later, on Dec. 6, NEPLP adopted a ruling to revoke Dozhd’s broadcasting license.
Dozhd widely covered the protest movement in Russia in 2011-2013 and 2017-2018, the Bolotnaya case, Pussy Riot case, and the poisoning of Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny.
At the beginning of June, Dozhd received permission from ENELP to broadcast from a studio in Riga. Back in March, the TV channel suspended its operations in Russia, and many of its journalists left the country due to Russian laws on disseminating fake news.
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