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Russia’s independent Dozhd TV (‘Rain TV’) is facing closure, says owner Natalya Sindeyeva. The channel is facing financial starvation since running a contentious programme on January 26th asking whether Leningrad residents should have surrendered to the Nazis during World War II.
During the following days the channel was criticised by the Russian parliament, and threatened with censorship. The channel was also removed from many cable TV systems.
“As of today we have a month to live. Within a month we should close down. Today I am having a meeting with the team, during which I will ask [their agreement] to cut wages and we, possibly, will continue to linger on for another two months,” Sindeyeva said at a session of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council on March 4th.
Sindeyeva says there has been strong support from the audience buying subscriptions to the channel on the internet, but this money is not enough for a full-scale operation. “Without advertising budgets, without the money from distribution that we have lost – and we have lost 80 per cent of our revenues – we will not survive,” Sindeyeva added, and that Dozhd TV has been trying to do its best to return to cable and satellite operators’ networks.
Dozhd TV editor in chief Mikhail Zygar said on March 4th that the channel would set up a board of trustees to monitor the channel’s content and point out its mistakes.