(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s most prominent independent TV channel will lose its operating license after Latvian regulators cited it for violations in its coverage of the war in Ukraine, but the outlet said it would try to continue to broadcast online.
TV Dozhd (‘Rain’) set off a storm of criticism last week when an anchor appeared to advocate sending supplies to mobilized Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. The journalist later apologized and was fired. Like several other independent media outlets, Dozhd fled Russia after the start of the war and set up operations in Latvia, a European Union and NATO member that’s become one of Europe’s fiercest critics of the war.
Regulators there originally had fined Dozhd for the latest violations. But Tuesday, Ivars Abolins, the chairman of the broadcasting authority, said the channel would lose its license effective Dec. 8, citing “threats to the security of the state and public order” and three recent violations of rules.
“Latvian laws must be observed and respected by everyone,” he said in Twitter. The regulator will seek to block Dozhd in YouTube in Latvia, as well, he said.
He cited Dozhd broadcasts showing a map of Crimea as part of Russia, calling the Russian army “our army,” and the correspondent’s comments on supporting troops last week.
Dozhd called the accusations “unfair and absurd” and vowed to continue broadcasting on YouTube. The Latvian order, which can be appealed, means the channel will have to suspend broadcasts on cable networks, Dozhd said on Twitter.
Latvia has made granting any aid to Russia’s military a criminal offense. The country’s security service said last week that it is conducting a probe into the Dozhd broadcast that mentioned helping Russian troops.
(Updates with regulator, network comment from fourth paragraph)
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