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Russia29 November 2001

Compulsory liquidation of nationally broadcast independent TV channel TV6

In a letter to Mickaïl Lessine, minister of Information, "Reporters sans frontières" (RSF) denounced, on November 29, the liquidation of TV6, one of the last independent television channels widely broadcast in Russia. "By no means do the commercial and financial considerations put forward conceal a policy systematically hostile to popular television channels not controlled by the State", declared Robert Ménard, general secretary of the organisation. "From now on, TV6 is the target of the authorities who seem to be using the same methods as those implemented to oust NTV", added Robert Ménard.

From the information gathered by RSF, an arbitrary court in Moscow upheld the liquidation of TV6 in appeal on November 26. On September 28, 2001, the Russian petroleum company Loukoïl, TV6 shareholder up to 15% via pension funds, announced taking proceedings aiming at closing down TV6 for "mismanagement". RSF reminds that TV6, of which Boris Berezovski is the main shareholder, had welcomed in May, opposition channel NTV’s journalists with some of their programs. These latter had themselves been ousted after the State had taken control of their media, in Spring 2001, through gas giant Gazprom. Since their arrival, the channel had worked its way to the fourth position in terms of audience, attracted many advertisers and turned out to be critical towards the Authorities.

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