Ekho Moskvy, One Of Russia's Last Independent Broadcasters, Closes Amid Government Crackdown

03.03.2022 Source:

Ekho Moskvy, an independent Russian media outlet critical of the Kremlin, has decided to close amid moves by the government to restrict its outreach.

Ekho Moskvy chief Aleksei Venediktov gives an interview at the radio station's office in Moscow in 2019.

"By a majority vote of the board of directors of Ekho Moskvy, a decision was made to liquidate the radio channel and the website of Ekho Moskvy," the broadcaster, one of the few remaining independent media outlets in Russia, said in a statement on Telegram.

The move comes after the Prosecutor-General's Office took the Ekho Moskvy radio station off the air for broadcasting what the authorities called information "calling for extremist activities, violence, and premeditated false information" about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Another independent broadcaster, television channel Dozhd TV, announced on March 1 that its website was blocked in Russia by order of the Prosecutor-General's Office amid a harsh crackdown by authorities on independent media outlets.

Ekho Moskvy first aired on August 22, 1990, in Moscow. Before the war with Ukraine, the radio station was taken off the air only once, during the State Committee for the Emergency Situation coup in 1991.

National media watchdog Roskomnadzor has warned media across the country that Russia's actions in Ukraine cannot be called a "war" or an "invasion," and should instead be referred to as a "special military operation in Ukraine."

The media regulator on February 28 blocked Current Time and the Crimea.Realities project of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service for refusing to delete their reports about the war in Ukraine.

On March 2, the editorial offices of RFE/RL's Russian Service received six notifications from Roskomnadzor late on March 2 in which the Russian media-monitoring agency threatened to block the service's website amid ongoing coverage of the conflict in Ukraine.

RFE/RL last week rejected Roskomnadzor's threat to block its Current Time website in Russia unless it deleted information about the invasion.