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Entire staff of Russian TV channel walk off while on air to protest war and censorship: 'No war'

A new law passed in the Russian parliament bans news organizations from reporting war-related news except those approved by the state.

Entire staff of Russian TV channel walk off while on air to protest war and censorship: 'No war'
Image source: Screenshot/Dozhd/ The Guardian

An independent channel in Russia shut down its broadcast and sent a message against the war in its final broadcast. The channel called Dozhd or "TV Rain" made a bold statement after Russian authorities blocked the company website in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The broadcasters and staff walked out live on air with the final words on screen reading: "No war," reported The Guardian. The independent news network has always been defiant to the establishment but the invasion of Ukraine and a new brutal censorship law saw the channel halt its broadcast. The new law passed unanimously in the Russian parliament banning news organizations from reporting war-related news except those approved by the state through press releases. As per the new law, a violation of the new legislation could lead to prison time of 15 years, reported CBS News.


TV Rain's final broadcast showed the anchors accompanied by the staff saying goodbye to the audience and their co-workers before ending the broadcast. "We need strength to ... understand how we can work from here," said the channel's founder and CEO Natalya Sindeeva, according to Reuters. "We really hope that we will return to broadcasting and continue our work." The company's website remains down. The channel played a "swan lake" ballet as all USSR tv channels did when it collapsed. Russia's telecommunications regulator accused TV Rain of "inciting extremism, abusing Russian citizens, causing mass disruption of public calm and safety, and encouraging protests."


Earlier in the day, the channel's founder, journalist Mikhail Zygar, also posted an open letter signed by more than a dozen journalists and artists calling an end to the war. Though the channel had started out as a lifestyle, cultural and intellectual channel, it felt a need to speak truth to power. “I realised just how much injustice there was around us, which I simply did not see before,” says Sindeyeva, reported The Indian Express. The channel started covering news, discussions, culture, politics, business reports, and documentaries among other things. The state targeted the channel, even labeling it a 'foreign agent.' The channel was even forced to move out of their headquarters and work out of the founder's home.



There has been a crackdown on news coverage in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. Rain TV is not the only media network to be targeted. The prosecutor general's office also blocked the site for radio station Ekho Moskvy. "The Ekho Moskvy board of directors has decided by a majority of votes to liquidate the radio channel and the website of Ekho Moskvy," Editor-in-Chief Alexei Venediktov wrote on messaging app Telegram. Russian officials have accused many media networks of enabling US and its allies to spread misinformation about Russia. Even the likes of BBC has been cut off after being alleged to have spread false information. "It's often said truth is the first casualty of war," said BBC Director-General Tim Davie. "In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda is rife, there is a clear need for factual and independent news people can trust – and in a significant development, millions more Russians are turning to the BBC." The network reported a sharp uptick — 252% jump — in Russian visitors last week.


Talks are still ongoing between Russia and Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is standing his ground and said he's 'not hiding.' He posted a video message from his office on Bankova Street. "I stay here. I stay in Kyiv. On Bankova Street. I'm not hiding. And I'm not afraid of anyone. As long as it's necessary to win in our patriotic war," he said, reported Sky News. Zelenskyy added that his team of ministers and advisors were all with him.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.

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