Blocked In Russia, Independent Online TV Station Dozhd Starts Broadcasting From Latvia

The independent 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 start broadcasting some of its programs from Latvia.

Natalya Sindeyeva, Dozhd's director general and owner, said on July 18 that the channel was restarting its evening programs online and several other programs later that day.

Sindeyeva added that "the big, serious" relaunch of the television channel is planned for this fall, when the station’s studio should be fully equipped and furnished.

Latvia's National Council on Electronic Media said in early June that it had granted Dozhd TV a broadcast license.

In March, shortly after Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Sindeyeva said the online television channel was suspending operations indefinitely due to "new conditions" in Russia.

Sindeyeva's announcement came a day after Dozhd's chief editor, Tikhon Dzyadko, said that he and several other Dozhd journalists had left Russia due to safety concerns.

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

Russia has further tightened its grip on media freedom in Russia after launching its full-scale attack on February 24.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law in March imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally fake news about the Russian military.

Media regulator Roskomnadzor has forbidden media outlets from calling Russia’s military aggression a war or invasion, demanding they call it a "special military operation."

The media watchdog has blocked some social-media platforms, including the websites of RFE/RL's Russian, Kazakh, Turkmen, and Tajik Services, as well as Current Time, Voice of America, and Deustche Welle.

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.