Blocked In Russia, TV Dozhd Gets License In Neighboring Latvia

By RFE/RL's Russian Service

The popular Russian television station Dozhd, which was forced to suspend operations in March amid pressure linked to its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, says it will resume operations from Latvia.

The chief of Latvia's National Council on Electronic Media (NEPLP), Ivar Abolins, said on June 6 that along with granting Dozhd TV a license, his agency also banned 80 Russian television channels from broadcasting in the country.

The decision will come into force on June 9. It was not clear when Dozhd would begin broadcasting from Latvia.

Dozhd's director-general and owner, Natalya Sindeyeva, said in early March that the online TV station had suspended its operations for an uncertain period of time due to "new conditions" inside Russia.

Sindeyeva's announcement came one day after Dozhd's chief editor, Tikhon Dzyadko, said that he and several other Dozhd journalists had left Russia, fearing for their safety.

Dozhd's website was blocked in Russia on March 1 after the Prosecutor-General's Office demanded it.

Russia has further tightened its grip on freedom of information following its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 in order to maintain its narrative.

Media regulator Roskomnadzor has warned media outlets across the country that Russia's actions in Ukraine cannot be called a war or an invasion, and should instead be referred to as a "special military operation in Ukraine."

The media watchdog has also blocked some social networks and websites of RFE/RL's Russian, Kazakh, Turkmen, and Tajik services, as well as Current Time, Voice of America, New Ties, Taiga.Info, DOXA, Deustche Welle, and other independent media outlets as well.

In the first few weeks of the war, several major international broadcasters suspended their operations inside Russia, including the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, CBS, German ARD and ZDF.

The BBC and ARD have since reopened.