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Aleksandr Minkin: "Rain? Let it go on! (An ultimatum)" (Echo of Moscow)

posted 15 Dec 2014, 07:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Dec 2014, 07:20 ]
6 December 2014

By Aleksandr Minkin, journalist 

Source: Echo of Moscow

The Dozhd [“Rain”] TV channel is being wiped out big time.

First of all they cut them off from satellite transmitters and cable networks, that is they closed access to viewers. Only the Internet remained.

Then advertising on Dozhd was cut off, in other words the possibility of supporting itself and its journalists. Dozhd found another means of surviving – subscription viewing.

From the moment that only viewers were paying for the station’s work, the question as to whether a channel such as this was needed had its answer.

It is very unlikely that one of the state channels could survive if it had to exist only on viewers money. They would certainly not get a rouble of my money (although, much against my will, they receive some sort of share of my taxes). But I subscribed to Dozhd, and I am giving my friends a subscription as a New Year gift. It’s easy: you pay 4,800 roubles for a present that lasts the whole year.

Then they chased the channel out of its premises. Dozhd found itself another place, temporarily till February. Suddenly on 5th December they were told, “You have two days to clear out!” And having thought they had two months to find a new studio, they suddenly realised they only had two days.

Now they have moved into someone’s flat…..

What has Dozhd’s offence? It’s useless to make wild guesses.

It is important that Dozhd and its founders have not committed any crime. The channel does not lie; the channel works honestly. But if it makes a mistake…But after all only those who don’t do anything never make mistakes.

Given these conditions, the Union of Russian Journalists must, absolutely must, defend the TV channel and its journalists. And at the moment the defence is very simple: The Union of Journalists can and must (again I emphasise: must) give Dozhd premises from which it can work.

It is important to grant them a space immediately. Save the channel rather than mouth fine phrases at its funeral.

If the secretariat needs to convene for a formal decision – let them get on with it, let them phone around. But on Monday the decision should be announced.

As a member of the Union of Journalists of Russia, I feel compelled to say: if they don’t do this, I shall leave the Union. If they feel nothing for a whole TV channel, then nobody will notice my absence anyway.

*** 

Rain [dozhd] is an important natural phenomenon. It waters the fields and gardens; it cleanses the air from smog. When there is a drought, people pray to God for rain, they have prayers and processions…..

The TV channel Dozhd is also a natural phenomenon, in the sense that it grew up by itself without the state machine, without any government decision, without any special legislation from the State Duma.

And now it is also going through a time of drought, and is also cleansing the information airwaves where the smog is dense.

Address for signing the petition in support of Dozhd is HERE

Original of the text on Moskovsky komsomolets 

Translated by Frances Robson
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