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© RIA Novosti. Elnar Salahiev

TV chief boycotts work over censorship

by Yulia Ponomareva at 17/02/2012 14:39


The editor-in-chief of a local television channel in the central Russian town of Yaroslavl has taken sick leave until March 4, the date of the country’s presidential elections, to avoid having to take part in censorship.

“My diagnosis is simple. I feel ashamed,” wrote Anton Golitsyn, who runs Yaroslavl’s NTM channel, in an open letter to the regional authorities posted on his Facebook page.

March 4 is also the date that the city of around half a million votes for a new mayor, a fact which Golitsyn said, increased the amount of censorship imposed on his station.

Golitsyn accused the authorities of taking his programs off air, hounding at least five independent mayoral candidates out of the race and persecuting a sixth one.

“‘How can a prostitute feel shame?’ many may ask. Maybe I have no conscience in the normal, human, Christian sense, but I can still feel shame,” Golitsyn wrote. “I’m ashamed to go to work today. I don’t want to take part in raping my town.”

The TV chief said he had chosen to boycott the station rather than actively protest since he did not want to involve his colleagues in the dispute or force them to take sides.

While the government has loosened its grip on several media outlets in Moscow in apparent reaction to mass protests against election rigging in December’s parliamentary vote, it is keeping a firm hold on those in the regions, where leading presidential candidate, current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, hopes to obtain most of his votes.

Golitsyn described in his open letter a conversation he had had with Yaroslavl Governor Sergei Vakhrukov, who said that people in Yaroslavl are too simple-minded to choose the best candidate in elections by themselves.

“You just decided that we’ll have the mayor that you want us to have,” Golitsyn wrote. “You can’t win in a fair game. You can’t fight. You can only lick the boots of those in power, steal, smear people’s reputations, and pressurize.”

According to Golitsyn, the main point of the election campaign for places like Yaroslavl is to report the right results to Moscow.


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