World news

Russian journalists in exile worried after the suspension of the Dojd channel in Latvia

Russia’s largest independent channel is once again cut off, but this time in exile. Blocked in Russia since March, established in Riga since July, the media Dojd (“the rain” in Russian) saw its broadcasting authorization revoked by the Latvian authorities, who accuse it of having shown its support for Moscow and violate local rules. A very severe sanction, which worries the many Russian journalists exiled in Europe after the start of the invasion.

The revocation of Dojd’s broadcasting license is the result of an accumulation of grievances by the Latvian audiovisual regulatory authority against the channel since the installation of its editorial office in Riga. “Latvian laws must be respected by all”Ivars Abolins, president of the country’s National Electronic Media Council, said on Twitter that Dojd will stop broadcasting on December 8.

“A serious blow to freedom of information”

The channel had been in the hot seat since being fined 10,000 euros on December 2 for broadcasting a map showing Crimea as an integral part of the Russian Federation. The regulator had also opened an investigation following comments made the day before by Dojd presenter Alexei Korostelev. On the air, the journalist had launched a call for testimonies on the living conditions of Russian soldiers on the front, adding: “We hope that we will be able to help many soldiers, for example with basic equipment. »

The statement immediately sparked a firestorm of criticism against Dojd, accused of supporting the Russian invasion, and prompted Latvia’s state security services to open an investigation. The chain tried, the next day, to correct the situation by dismissing Alexei Korostelev and recalling its longstanding opposition to the war in Ukraine and the regime of Vladimir Putin, while ensuring that it had never provided support equipment to the Russian army. The NGO Reporters Without Borders also showed its support for Dojd, arguing that “the withdrawal of its license would be a serious blow to the freedom, independence and pluralism of information”.

Alas, the Latvian authorities have not deviated. Visibly upset with the Russian media, Ivars Abolins justified his decision by mentioning other offenses with which Dojd was accused: the lack of translation of his programs into Latvian, the mention by a presenter of Russian forces as “our army”. According to this person in charge, the persons in charge of the chain would also have presented themselves without a translator at an appointment with the National Council of the electronic media of a country where 30% of the two million inhabitants are Russian speakers, but where Russian is not not considered an official language. This last allegation was denied by the chain.

Continue to denounce the Putin regime

“I wasn’t ready for that, I thought the Latvian authorities wouldn’t go that far”reacted, amazed, the founder of Dojd, Natalia Sindeïeva, in an interview with the independent Russian site Meduza (also installed in Riga). On its Twitter account, the channel created in 2008 indicated that it would continue its broadcast on YouTube, denouncing in passing “unjust and absurd accusations” brought against him.

Beyond the Dojd team, the announcement also shocked the many Russian journalists and intellectuals exiled in Europe since the start of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 to flee censorship and judicial persecution in Russia. Some, like Kirill Martynov, editor of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta Europecalled on the Latvian and European media to show solidarity with the channel.

Others testify to their fear that such measures will be taken in their chosen countries. “Of the three Baltic countries, Latvia is the one with the harshest attitude towards Russians, but nothing would prevent Lithuania from canceling the visas and residence permits of Russian journalists to flirt with their voters”, entrusted to The cross Andrei (1), journalist for an independent Russian publication, established in Lithuania since the invasion. “This news is cause for great concern.adds political scientist Ilya Matveïev, co-founder of the opposition media Posted. Being able to continue to speak out against Putin’s regime and his war is the reason many of us left Russia. Not being able to do so is another blow to the prospect of political change in our country. »

Source : BBN NEWS

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