Dozhd (Russian: Дождь, IPA: [ˈdoʂtʲ] (listen), lit. 'Rain'; stylized as До///дь), also known as TV Rain, is an independent Russian television channel founded in 2010. It focuses on news, discussions, culture, politics, business reports, and documentaries. Most Dozhd shows are live broadcasts. The channel's motto is "talk about important things with those who are important to us". It is owned by journalist Natalya Sindeyeva.
|Type||News, current affairs|
|Owner||Dozhd media holding|
|Founded||21 April 2008|
|Launched||27 April 2010|
|Closed||5 March 2022|
|Webcast||Live stream (paywall)|
|Apple TV||details (in Russian)|
On 1 March 2022, the Russian government blocked access to Dozhd, as well as the radio station Echo of Moscow, in response to their coverage of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. The channel closed, with its general director announcing they would be "temporarily halting its operations", on 3 March 2022.
Dozhd, also known as TV Rain, is an independent Russian television channel founded in 2010 by two women, Natalya Sindeyeva, media entrepreneur and owner, and Vera Krichevskaya , a TV director. It has focused on news, discussions, culture, politics, business reports, and documentaries. Most Dozhd shows have been live broadcasts with a motto to "talk about important things with those who are important to us". It is owned by journalist Natalya Sindeyeva.
Dozhd was one of the first channels in Russia to cover the 2011 Russian protests against the alleged rigging of the parliamentary elections. President Dmitry Medvedev was also noticed to have unfollowed Dozhd on Twitter. However, the channel was the first mass media outlet that he had chosen to follow on Twitter, according to an RIA Novosti report. On 9 December 2011, Dozhd was asked to provide copies of its coverage of the protests to check if it had abided by Russian media laws. By 10 December, it was showing a white ribbon, a symbol of the protests, by its on-screen logo. The station's owner, Sindeyeva, explained this as being a sign of "sincerity", rather than "propaganda", and an attempt to be "mediators" instead of simply journalists.
On 26 January 2014, Dozhd ran a poll on its website and on its live "Dilettantes" discussion program asking viewers if Leningrad should have been surrendered to the invading Nazi army in order to save hundreds of thousands of lives during the siege of Leningrad. Presenters cited Viktor Astafyev and compared it with the 1812 capture of vacant Moscow. Within 30 minutes, Dozhd removed the poll and apologized for incorrect wording. In the following days Dozhd was criticized by politicians, activists, State Duma members and Valentina Matvienko for its online poll on the Leningrad siege of World War II. Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, also criticized the channel and said that they violated "more than a law". Yuri Pripachkin, President of the Cable Television Association of Russia (AKTR), said that he wanted "to take functions of censoring". In a resolution backed by the St. Petersburg legislature's deputies, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika was requested to "conduct an investigation into provocative material posted on the website of the Dozhd television channel … and take appropriate measures, including shutting down the channel". On 29 January, the largest Russian TV providers disconnected the channel. Dozhd was forced to move to a private apartment in October 2014.
In November 2013, two months before the controversy, Dozhd broadcast a report by anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny investigating high-ranking officials including Vyacheslav Volodin. The channel's owner, Natalya Sindeyeva, suggested that the program caused the campaign against the channel.
On 20 August 2021, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation added Dozhd, along with the investigative website Important Stories (iStories), into the list of "foreign agents". As stated by a representative of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation at the meeting with the members of Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Dozhd was designated as "foreign agent" by the request of Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media due to distribution of materials prepared by media and individuals which were declared "foreign agents" that receive donations or funding from outside Russia earlier, such as Meduza, Current Time TV, Lev Ponomaryov, Lyudmila Savitskaya.
In response, Amnesty International criticized the move, stating that the authorities were "launching a campaign against independent media aimed at eradicating unbiased journalism and investigative reporting".
The Moscow Times reported that during the year long period before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government began to act against Independent and critical media in Russia. In that period dozens of journalists and independent media agencies including Dozhd were designated as 'foreign agents' by the Russian authorities. The term foreign agent has Soviet-era undertones. Entities that are designated as foreign agents are obligated to disclose their sources of funding and have to label their publications including social media posts with the tag foreign agent. Violation of the obligation attracts fines.
On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale military invasion of Ukraine. On 1 March 2022, six days after the invasion began, the office of the Prosecutor-General of Russia ordered the country's censor, Roskomnadzor (arm of Russian government) to restrict access to Dozhd as well as Echo of Moscow due to their coverage of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, claiming that they were spreading "deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel" as well as "information calling for extremist activity" and "violence".
On 2 March, Dozhd editor-in-chief Tikhon Dzyadko released a statement saying he and several other Dozhd workers had fled Russia, as "it became obvious that the personal safety of some of us is now under threat."
On 3 March, Dozhd said it was temporarily suspending operations, and towards the end of its final broadcast, the crew walked off-set and played Swan Lake in protest, in reference to the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt when channels could not report the news and instead played footage of the ballet.
Until 2022, the Dozhd website provided live broadcasting and archived programs. The content from Dozhd was available on Youtube until late April, 2022. Dozhd has since then removed all but their two most recent videos. A banner now reads: "в связи с требованием властей мы временно скрыли материалы на нашем канале", which roughly translates as: "Due to the demand of the authorities, we have temporarily hidden materials on our channel".
Since March 2013, the channel has been available in Israel as part of basic package of the Yes Israel satellite television provider.
In January 2017, the channel was forced by the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine It was shut down because channel content implied Crimea was Russian territory. According to Dozhd owner Natalya Sindeyeva Russian law requires that media use maps that show Crimea as a part of Russia. Since the 2014 Crimean crisis, the status of Crimea is under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community considers Crimea an integral part of Ukraine, while Russia considers Crimea an integral part of Russia. Ukraine has since moved to ban RTVI for similar reasons.to stop broadcasting in the country.
Dozhd is a recipient of TEFI (2011), Runet Prize (2013) and Free Media Award (2014). The channel's journalists received Redkollegia award four times. Two months after Dozhd's closure, they would win a Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity.
In 2021, a full-length documentary film titled F@ck This Job was released. It was written and directed by Vera Krichevskaya, one of the founders of Dozhd. The film deals with work of Dozhd and its CEO Natalya Sindeyeva. The documentary was broadcast under its alternative title, Tango with Putin in the UK in March 2022 as part of the BBC documentary series, Storyville. The documentary had been due to receive its Moscow premiere and Russian distribution in early March 2022, which were cancelled due to bomb threats against the Moscow cinema, and new censorship rules following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Dozhd (Rain) is temporarily halting its work
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