Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Russia's Top Satellite Company Drops Liberal Dozhd TV Channel

Russia’s major satellite provider stopped broadcasting Dozhd independent television channel Monday after the network became embroiled into a controversy over an opinion poll about World War II. Tricolor TV, Russia’s biggest satellite TV provider, said a week ago that its board of directors had unanimously decided to exclude the liberal Dozhd channel from all its packages because of its editorial policy. “9:47 a.m., Dozhd channel disappeared from Tricolor,” the station’s owner Alexander Vinokurov wrote on his Twitter account Monday. Dozhd, which translates as “rain” in Russian, sparked outrage among officials by briefly publishing a poll last month that asked whether the Soviet Union should have surrendered the besieged city of Leningrad – now St. Petersburg – to the Nazis in an attempt to avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths. The poll was published on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the lifting of the devastating 900-day Siege of Leningrad in 1944. The resulting debate prompted some other major satellite providers to drop the station from its packages. Dozhd apologized for the poll, but said it was being used as a pretext to shut down the channel, known for its whistleblowing reports and criticism of the Kremlin. Last week, the station’s management said that the satellite providers’ decision to stop broadcasting Dozhd would mean significant losses, cutting down its audience by about 80-85 percent.


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