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Russia11 January 2002

The arbitration Supreme court confirms TV6 compulsory liquidation

In a letter addressing Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF Reporters without Borders) has denounced on January 11, the arbitration Supreme Court of Moscow upholding the compulsory liquidation of TV6, the last independent television channel covering the national territory of Russia". Vladimir Putin has achieved his aim : within a year, all nationally broadcast independent media have, either been submitted to State control, or been shut down  by powerful State companies acting on behalf of the authorities", declared Robert Ménard, General Secretary of the Organisation. "The president deliberate policy of submitting and taking over the last democratic strongholds, including justice, sends Russia back to its painful totalitarian past", Robert Ménard added.

According to the information gathered by RSF, Moscow arbitrary Supreme Court, Russia’s highest legal authority, has upheld, on January 11, 2002, the compulsory liquidation of TV6, the last independent television channel covering the national territory. At the end of December, a federal court had handed down the decision of November 26, 2001 requiring TV6 compulsory liquidation, but that conviction had been appealed before the Supreme court on January 4th 2002 by arbitrary Supreme Court Vice-President Edouard Renov. The channel’s attorneys should soon take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

RSF reminds that the complaint aiming at shutting down the television channel TV6 on the charge of "mismanagement" had been lodged in September 2001 by State Petroleum Company Loukoïl-Garant, TV6 shareholder up to 15% via a pension fund. The channel TV6, of which Boris Berezovski is the main shareholder, had welcomed in May 2001 journalists from the opposition channel NTV together with some of their programs.  These latter had been evicted themselves from their media by giant gas producer Gazprom, in the spring of 2001. Since their arrival some programs have had a very large audience share. The channel, which also attracted many advertisers, had been very critical toward the power.

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