Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Russian cable, satellite operators discontinue Dozhd over online poll

Several major Russian cable and satellite providers recently stopped broadcasting the Dozhd channel due to negative responses from customers and political leaders over an online poll.

Last Monday, Dozhd posted an online survey on its website asking viewers if Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, should have surrendered to Nazi forces during World War II, thereby preventing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Russian lives, RIA Novosti reports.

Following an outcry of responses from subscribers and Russian leaders, the station withdrew the survey shortly after it was posted. By Wednesday, several cable providers had already decided to discontinue offering Dozhd.

To date, national television carriers Akado, NTV Plus, Dom.ru and Rostelecom have ceased broadcasting Dozhd. Moreover, regional providers including St. Petersburg's ER-Telecom Holding as well as three Ural-area cable companies have stopped offering Dozhd in their lineups, according to RIA Novosti.

TriColor TV, Russia's largest satellite television provider, issued a statement condemning the controversial poll but has announced that it will not stop transmitting the channel.

"We hope that the channel drew the due conclusions that its future broadcasts will make amends for this mistake," said a statement released by Tricolor TV, RIA Novosti reports.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Dozhd "crossed a moral and ethical red line" but "failed to offer any kind of reasonable apologies," according to RIA Novosti.

In response to the backlash over its controversial poll, Dozhd issued a statement on its website on Wednesday defending its actions.

"We don't want the sense of 'patriotism' to be monopolized," the statement said, RIA Novosti reports. "We do not want it to be confused with loyalty to the authorities. The more you love your country, the more you worry for it."

As a result of the Dozhd controversy, Russian officials have begun to discuss making it a crime to question the Soviet Union's actions during World War II.