Prosecutors started inspection of the Dozhd /Rain/ television channel regarding its involvement in organisation of the mass rallies For Honest Elections on December 10 and 24, 2011. The State Duma’s deputy of United Russia Robert Schlegel applied for the inspection of the channel. The National Association of Tele and Radio Broadcasters called the inspection a “direct attack” on the television channel.
On Wednesday, the Dozhd television channel received a letter from the Zamoskvorechye regional prosecution office, which demanded revealing information “on sources of financing the broadcast made by the television channel” of the December rallies in Moscow – the rally For Honest Elections on December 10 on Bolotnaya Square and on December 24 on the Sakharov Avenue, Kommersant reports. The request instructs Dozhd to present to the prosecutors copies of the charter and the registration certificate of the television channel, as well as “documents /correspondence, approval, technical orders, acts, payment documents, etc./ referring to the video broadcast of the rallies.”
The sole owner of the Television Channel Dozhd, limited partnership company, is its Director General Natalya Sindeyeva. However, Robert Schlegel thought otherwise and did not rule out that financing of the channel may involve “some Western funds.” He said he had filed the deputy request under the influence from the broadcast of the rallies in December.
“The claims that we are being financed by somebody from abroad are simply ridiculous,” the newspaper quotes Natalya Sindeyeva as saying. “Robert Schlegel put his questions officially, thus our answer will be official, and our lawyers are working on it.”
Experts say that the deputy’s request and the following activities of the prosecutors are “legally imperfect.” “A deputy of the State Duma has a right to address a prosecution office, but maximum he or she may do is to ask for clarification, not for an inspection,” chairman of the Agora legal human rights association Pavel Chikov said. “Besides, it is not clear, who and why needs this campaign before the elections.”
Izvestia says it is not the first inspection of the Dozhd television channel, which started broadcasting in April of 2010. In late 2011, the federal service supervising in the sphere of information technologies and mass communications requested copies of the broadcasts of December 5 and 6 /on those days, the television channel broadcasted rallies against results of the elections to the State Duma/, but failed to spot violations in the work of the television channel.