Prosecutors checking independent Russian TV channel

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2015 7:47 AM
Prosecutors checking independent Russian TV channel

MOSCOW (AP) — Prosecutors and fire inspectors on Monday launched checks into Russia's only independent television channel, which has previously come under fire for its reporting.

The TV station Dozhd said on its website that prosecutors visited its office Monday morning to check compliance with extremism, labor and health regulations following a citizen's request. Dozhd's director general Natalya Sindeyeva wrote on her social media account that the prosecutors were followed by fire inspectors.

The Associated Press sought comment from prosecutors, but no one answered the phone.

Russian television channels grew increasingly subservient last year, supporting the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and Russia's aggressive policy toward Ukraine. Dozhd was one of the rare media outlets whose reporting cast doubt on government policies.

Dozhd, the only TV channel to investigate Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine, was on the brink of demise last year when nearly all cable networks dropped it in a matter of days following a Kremlin-sponsored harassment campaign. Following the termination of a lease agreement, Dozhd spent several months broadcasting out of an employee's apartment before moving to a new studio in February.

The checks follow a lawmaker's September petition to the prosecutors to look into labor conditions at Dozhd for using non-office space for work as well as its use of partner content.

Nationalist lawmaker Alexei Zhuvalev, better known for his recent visits to the separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine and government-controlled parts of Syria, said in a statement published in September that the pieces that Dozhd's picked from two international TV stations were "discrediting Russia's efforts to settle a conflict in south-western Ukraine."