Marina Ovsyannikova: Russian TV journalist who protested Ukraine war on air goes to court

A Moscow district court said in a statement that Marina Ovsyannikova, editor-in-chief of Channel One, was found guilty of an “administrative offence” and fined 30,000 rubles ($280).

Ovsyannikova was pictured in court earlier with one of her lawyers, Anton Gashinsky.

Dmitry Zakhvatov, a lawyer who previously represented Ovsyannikova, told CNN the administrative charge was based solely on a video statement she recorded before appearing with an anti-war poster on Channel One.

Taking a brave stand against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government, Ovsyannikova protested on air Monday, standing behind a news anchor with a sign that read, “NO WAR.”

The Kremlin on Tuesday called Ovsyannikova’s actions “hooliganism”, a criminal offense in Russia.

Russian state news agency Tass reported that law enforcement officials had opened a preliminary investigation into the “public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of Russian armed forces”.

The courageous protest was broadcast several times throughout the day on international television and captured the attention of political leaders.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his protection to Ovsyannikova.

“France strongly condemns any incarceration of a journalist as well as any manipulation and we will obviously launch diplomatic steps aimed at offering protection either at the embassy or asylum protection to your colleague,” Macron told reporters. in a center for Ukrainian refugees in France. .

Macron also said he would raise the issue directly with Putin on their next call.

Censor the press

Putin signed a censorship bill earlier this month that criminalizes ‘false’ news about the invasion of Ukraine, with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for anyone found guilty, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Russia has cracked down on local media about the war in Ukraine and many have reduced their coverage accordingly. International networks such as CNN, ABC News, CBS News and others stopped broadcasting from Russia. And independent Russian media TV Rain, also known as Dozhd, has shut down completely. Its editor and staff, along with other independent journalists, left the country.

They have since reportedly been joined by a presenter from the pro-Kremlin channel NTV. State news agency RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday that Lilia Gildeeva “no longer works” for NTV.

Famous Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov’s Telegram channel reported that Gildeeva said in an interview that she quit and left the country.

“At first I left [the country]I was afraid that they wouldn’t just let me go, so I tendered my resignation,” Varlamov quoted her as saying.

NTV declined to comment. CNN attempted to contact Gildeeva for comment. The reason for his resignation was not disclosed.

Ovsyannikova’s booth

In her video, Ovsyannikova blamed Putin for the war.

“What is happening in Ukraine now is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor country, and the responsibility for this aggression rests on the conscience of one person. That man is Vladimir Putin,” Ovsyannikova says in the video, noting that her father is Ukrainian and her mother is Russian.

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“Unfortunately, for the past few years I have worked on Channel One and done propaganda in the Kremlin, and now I am very ashamed of it,” she says in the video. “It’s a shame that I allowed lies to be told on TV screens, shame that I allowed the Russian people to be zombified.”

“I’m ashamed that we kept quiet in 2014, when all this was just beginning,” she says, referring to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

– CNN’s Paul Murphy contributed to this report

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