(Kyiv) – An order from Ukrainian authorities banning the Russian independent television channel Dozhd TV (TV Rain) from broadcasting on Ukrainian cable networks violates freedom of expression and should be revoked, Human Rights Watch said today. In Russia, Dozhd TV is accessible only by streaming it over the internet since the Russian authorities orchestrated its cutoff from satellite and cable providers in 2014, as part of the Kremlin’s crackdown on independently owned television channels.
“It is profoundly disappointing to see that Ukrainian authorities are following the Kremlin’s example in silencing media they don’t like,” said Tanya Cooper, Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Media should not be used as a scapegoat in political bargaining.”
A statement on the Dozhd TV website on January 12, 2017, said that its Ukrainian cable provider, Volya, notified the station that Ukraine’s National Radio and TV Council had issued an order to stop Dozhd TV broadcasts. The council said cable providers have one month to implement the order from the date it was published. The Dozhd TV statement said a Volya representative informed the station the ban was issued because Dozhd TV had violated Ukraine’s advertising regulations.