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Dejected journalists from Dozhd, Russia’s top independent TV channel which is also known as TV Rain, somberly walked off the set Thursday after the Kremlin forced the network off the air for refusing to parrot propaganda amid Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.
Footage posted on YouTube – that has since been removed – showed visibly unhappy journalists gathered around the anchor desk before getting up and sadly walking away. One staffer raised a clenched fist before an anchor gathered papers from the desk and exited. The network then lingered on an empty set as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s quest to control messaging to Russian citizens became easier for the foreseeable future.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has attempted to silence non-state media. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
(Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
TV Rain CEO Natalya Sindeeva issued a statement that the news organization would “temporarily suspend its work” after Russian authorities accused TV Rain of reporting “false information regarding the actions of Russian military personnel as part of a special operation” in Ukraine.
“We need strength to exhale and understand how to work further. We really hope that we will return to the air and continue our work,” Sindeeva said.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal body responsible for overseeing media, has urged all news outlets to only use “trustworthy sources” when it comes to reporting on the invasion of Ukraine.
“What they mean by that is Russian government sources,” intelligence expert and national security commentator Rebekah Koffler told Fox News Digital.
Russians have to rely largely on state-run outlets for television coverage of the war as a result.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal body responsible for overseeing media, has urged all news outlets to only use "trustworthy sources" when it comes to reporting on the invasion of Ukraine. The country is largely left with state-run outlets as a result. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
(ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
TV Rain’s verified Twitter account announced on Thursday that police officers came to the network’s office and were waiting for the arrival of an attorney.
“The police brought two warnings about the inadmissibility of spreading extremist materials through the media. The warning contains the address of the YouTube channel of the Rain. Specific materials are not specified,” the network announced.
TV Rain had not shared further messages on its Twitter account as of Friday morning.
The video of staffers walking off set suddenly became unavailable on YouTube while Fox News Digital was working on this story. “This channel doesn’t have any content,” TV Rain’s verified YouTube page now says.
YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Also on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Putin’s efforts to shut down Russia’s free press “deeply” concerning to the Biden administration.
“The Kremlin, right now, is engaged in a full assault on media, freedom and the truth,” Psaki said Thursday.
Psaki said Russia has also taken steps to consider making “unofficial reporting” punishable by up to 15 years in prison and has blocked many social media platforms.
“What they are trying to do is block any information about what they are doing to invade a sovereign country,” she said. “They’re taking severe steps to do exactly that.”
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