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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 22:58 GMT
Russian media fights court closure
Picture: ntvru.com website
TV-6 says it will challenge a court decision
A number of prominent public figures in Russia have added their voices in defence of the country's largest independent media, after a court ruling threatened to close it.


You want to live in Paraguay? Then let's shut down every single media outlet that presents a point of view other than the official one

Yevgeny Kiselyov

A leader of an influential political party Boris Nemtsov - quoted in the Russian newspaper Moskovskiy Komsomolets - said that the Kremlin was trying to close the TV-6 station for political reasons.

He also backed up the view of a controversial Russian tycoon and a partial owner of the TV-6 Boris Berezovsky, who said the station was being "killed off" politically.

On Monday, the court in Moscow upheld an order allowing the TV-6 station to be closed within six months on the grounds that it was unprofitable.

The station itself said it would challenge the court decision.

Media freedom

The TV-6 station said it was the next target in a campaign by President Vladimir Putin to silence any alternatives to official propaganda, after the state-backed company took over the main independent network NTV earlier this year.

Yevgeny Kiselyov
Kiselyov says chances to save TV-6 are slim

"This is not about TV-6, and it is not even about tired words like free speech. It is about the future of the country," station's general director Yevgeny Kiselyov told the Reuters news agency.

"You want to live in Paraguay? Then let's shut down every single media outlet that presents a point of view other than the official one," he added.

The station's staff is made up mainly of NTV journalists, who left after the takeover.

The Kremlin said it has nothing to do with the case.

The case

The lawsuit was brought in May by a pension fund Lukoil-Garant, which holds 15% stake in TV-6.


We simply defend our rights as a shareholder. Our rights have been violated on numerous occasions

Mikhail Berezhnoi

It said TV-6 should be liquidated, because the station was a bankrupt

Lukoil's general director Mikhail Berezhnoi said the company was not pursuing any political agenda.

"We simply defend our rights as a shareholder. Our rights have been violated on numerous occasions," he said.

The court ruling upheld an order that would shut the company.

The Russian media minister Mikhail Lesin regretted the court ruling, but said he would act in accordance with the law.

TV-6 was a relatively unknown station but has gained prominence with the arrival of the former NTV journalists, who helped to revamp the station's news, shows and political satire.

Some of TV-6 programmes where strongly critical of President Putin and other top government officials.

See also:

04 Apr 01 | Europe
NTV's battle with the Kremlin
03 Apr 01 | Europe
Russian TV station loses freedom
09 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Eastern Europe's media revolution
26 Mar 01 | Europe
Russian tycoon released on bail
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