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Liberal Russian TV Dozhd Suspending Operations Over Ukraine Ban

Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

Liberal Russian TV channel Dozhd said Thursday it was stopping work temporarily after being ordered to close by authorities for its broadcasts on Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"We need strength to exhale and understand how to work further. We really hope that we will return to the air and continue our work," the network's CEO Natalia Sindeyeva wrote on social media.

Russia's prosecutor general this week ordered the country's media watchdog to "restrict access" to the channel as well as the landmark radio station Ekho Moskvy, which announced earlier Thursday it was shutting down.

Authorities said the ban stems from "purposeful and systematic" posting of "information calling for extremist and violent acts."

They also said the media outlets had been penalised for propagating "deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel" in Ukraine.

The move was the latest blow to independent media in Russia, where press freedoms have been waning rapidly.

Dozens of media workers and independent outlets — including Dozhd — have recently been designated "foreign agents" by authorities.

A term with Soviet-era undertones, the status can lead to fines for those who fail to disclose sources of funding and label publications — including social media posts — with a tag.

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