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Rally held on the birthday of Vladimir Putin's censorship on TV

Press Release

April 14, 2012

About 300 people took part in the rally "For the freedom of the media! Against the lies and censorship on TV! The rally was held by the Ostankino TV centre on April 14. The action began and ended with demonstrations. A column of YABLOKO activists led by party Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin marched from the metro station to the site of the rally despite the ban of the authorities on a march. In the end of the rally the participants made a present to "Putin's censorship" on its birthday.

April 14 is considered to be the birthday of Vladimir Putin's censorship on television. At night of April 13 on April 14, 2001, there was forceful change of the Board of the key Russian independent private television company NTV.

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin said opening the meeting that the present Russian regime represents the "rule of the parasitic elite headed by the ruling Vladimir Putins group." "This group is aiming at deriving and appropriating a maximum volume of resources from the country, he said. "Pursuing this goal the government have to keep the society in a state of permanent duping and lulling, permanent silencing of the problems and silencing down of those who would like to tell the truth. Such a task is set before the state television channels, " he added.

According to Mitrokhin, to transform the regime by means of peaceful and constitutional changes, we must not forget these important dates, we must continue fighting for the civilized rule of law, where television would implement the task of informing and educating people, ensuring of political competition and providing full information to citizens.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, a popular journalist from the old NTV team also made a speech at the rally. He said that the independent channel was destroyed, "because journalists of the channel were fighting against the war in Chechnya, against corruption, and were telling the truth about the accident with the submarine Kursk, explosions of apartment blocks in Moscow, and exercises of the FSB in Ryazan and were giving word to Anna Politikovskaya."

"Censorship has been dominating in the country for as long as 11 years, but we have managed to grow a generation of parents of those students who come to mass-scale rallies at Bolotnaya and Sakharov squares in Moscow and a demonstration at Yakimanka, he said.

Journalist Igor Yakovenko compared the Ostankino television tower with a "switch" that can send the society back to the past: "as long as we do not turn this switch off, nothing will change in the country."

Yakovenko called to a boycott of the present NTV channel and creation of a truly public television, which would be funded by the society, rather than businesses, because business always depends on the government. "We must oppose the vertical of power symbolized by the Ostankino TV Tower with our horizontal network of public television," Yakovenko concluded.

Igor Drandin, one of the leaders of the Democratic Choice movement, recollected the recent lawsuits against the present NTV channel demanding a refutation of slander disseminated in the film about the mass-scale protest movement "The Anatomy of the Protest." Drandin called on participants of the rally to create their alternative sources of information.
Alexander Gnezdilov, one of the leaders of Moscow branch of YABLOKO, suggested that living in a real world rather than that offered by television, it is impossible to vote for Putin. "It is impossible to vote for Putin and his policies, unless people are interested only in gossip, superstitions and paranoid delusions imposed by the programmes about mystery, as well as foreign policy," Gnezdilov said.

Valery Borshchyov, member of YABLOKO Bureau and human rights activist, thanked journalists of the "old" NTV team, for their courage when they left the NTV company after the take-over. Borshchyov gave an example from his own life. When, in 1974, Alexander Solzhenitsyn called to live by truth, rather than lies, Borshchev and many of his colleagues left the popular Komsomolskaya Pravda paper and even left journalism.

An activist from the Solidarity movement and Kirill Gontcharov, leader of Moscow's Youth YABLOKO, also spoke at the rally. Kirill Goncharov returned from his trip to Astrakhan, where he supported Oleg Shein who was on hunger strike protesting against election fraud at the elections of the city mayor.

The resolution of the rally demanded the resignation of the federal television channels heads - Konstantin Ernst, Oleg Dobrodeyev and Vladimir Kulistikov.

Protesters also brought biscuits as a gift to Putins television (as the film of the NTV channel stated that mass-scale rallies in Moscow had gathered so much people because of buying off the protesters with biscuits and small amounts of money). Galina Mikhalyova, Executive Secretary of YABLOKOs Political Committee and YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin carried the boxes with biscuits to the entrance of the television centre. However, the riot police did not let them to go further and left the biscuits the symbol of lies and propaganda to themselves.

Photos by Anton Baskakov:

Photo: The anchor and YABLOKO's Executive Secretary Galina Mikhalyova


Photo: YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin


Photo: Vladimir Kara-Murza


Photo: Igor Yakovenko

Photo: Igor Drandin

Photo: Valery Borschyov


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Press Release

April 14, 2012

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