Latvia to revoke Russian Dozhd TV channel’s license after it ‘calls to help Russian military’

6 December 2022, 02:01 PM
Alexey Korostelev expressed support for Russian soldiers (Photo:Screenshot of the video of the Russian Dozhd TV channel)

Alexey Korostelev expressed support for Russian soldiers (Photo:Screenshot of the video of the Russian Dozhd TV channel)

Latvia’s media regulator NEPLP has decided to revoke the license of Russian television channel Dozhd (Rain), Latvia-based news outlet Delfi reported on Dec. 6, with reference to NEPLP Head Ivars Āboliņš.

According to the official, the decision was made “taking into account state security and public order.”

Earlier one of Dozhd’s anchors, Alexei Korostelev, said on air that the channel helps the Russian army fighting in Ukraine with “equipment,” without specifying exactly how that was done.

Video of day

“We hope we have been able to help many (Russian) servicemen with, for example, equipment and basic necessities at the front,” Korostelev said on Dec. 1, as he was hosting Dozhd’s “Here and Now” regular program.

Latvia’s NEPLP fined Dozhd EUR 10,000 ($10,000) over the incident and noted that the channel could lose its broadcasting license in the case of further infractions.

On Dec. 2, Latvia’s VDD security service launched a probe into Dozhd, saying that expressing any kind of support for the Russian military invasion of Ukraine is “unacceptable” for a media organization operating in Latvia.

Tikhon Dzyadko, Editor-in-Chief at Dozhd, later said the channel “has not been, is not, and will not be engaged in helping to equip the Russian army.”

Dozhd’s spokesperson Katerina Kotrikadze has since announced that the channel has “stopped cooperation” with Korostelev, who is now presumably fired.

Dozhd’s broadcasting in Ukraine was banned back in 2017 due to the stories, which, as explained in the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting, “indicate non-recognition of state borders” of Ukraine and “encroachment on the territorial integrity” of the country.

In particular, the “Here and Now” program and the website showed maps where Ukraine’s Russian-occupied territory of Crimea was falsely marked as Russian territory.

In 2021, the Russian authorities declared Dozhd to be a “foreign agent,” due to which its editorial office moved to Latvia.

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