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'Surrender Leningrad' poll: Public wrath meets presidential council's warning

January 29, 2014, 16:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A cable TV association has warned that broadcasters may take Dozhd off the airwaves
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MOSCOW, January 29. /ITAR-TASS/. A presidential committee on media freedom has intervened in a dispute over a television channel opinion poll asking if besieged Leningrad should have been surrendered to Nazi forces to save its starving citizens in the Great Patriotic War.

The survey by web portal Dozhd (Rain) has been condemned in the State Duma lower house of parliament as rehabilitation of Nazism and “betrayal of our people.” A cable TV association has warned that broadcasters may take Dozhd off the airwaves. Moreover, the channel itself has apologized for airing the issue of what could have happened to change the course of bloody events in the 1941-45 conflict.

However, the finger of scorn — and the threat of a switch-off — has brought a warning from a committee on information freedom in the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. “No registered media outlet can be shut down or switched off without a warning from the Russian telecommunications watchdog and a court verdict,” the committee has declared.

“The public committee dealing with pleas against media outlets should give a professional, ethical assessment of journalists' work,” it said in a statement posted on the presidential council's website.

Committee members made their move after Russian cable television association President Yuri Pripachkin said on Tuesday that cable operators “are losing their subscribers over such TV channels staging provocations,” noting that individual operators will take independent action.

Stepping in, the president's committee warns that pulling the plug on Dozhd would seek “to punish journalists severely ", noting procedures and protocol to be followed first.

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