Journalist fined for Ukraine war protest on Russia TV


The Russian journalist who interrupted a state TV news bulletin and denounced the war in Ukraine has been fined 30,000 rubles ($280) by a Russian court.

Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Russian-owned Channel One, burst onto the set of a live broadcast of the nightly news on Monday evening, holding a sign protesting the Russian invasion and shouting “stop the war.”

Concerns for the journalist’s safety quickly arose after a human rights lawyer said she had not been heard from for several hours. However, a photo surfaced on Tuesday afternoon showing Ovsyannikova with her lawyer.

Ovsyannikova was ordered to pay the fine following a court hearing Tuesday, Russian news agency RIA reported. The fine is reportedly in relation to a separate video she made just before her on-air protest. It’s possible that Ovsyannikova could face additional charges. State news agency Tass reported Monday, citing an anonymous source, that the Russian Investigative Committee had launched a preliminary inquiry into the journalist.

“It was my anti-war decision. I made this decision by myself because I don’t like Russia starting this invasion. It was really terrible,” Ovsyannikova told the BBC after the hearing. She told reporters that she had gone two days with no sleep, and had been questioned for over 14 hours.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the protest “hooliganism” and said it would be dealt with by the network and the relevant organizations.

Marina Ovsyannikova, the editor at the state broadcaster Channel One who protested against Russian military action in Ukraine during the evening news broadcast at the station late Monday, leaves the Ostankinsky District Court.

– | Afp | Getty Images

The media is tightly controlled in Russia, with state TV, which closely follows the Kremlin line, the main news source for millions of Russians.

That’s especially so following the introduction of a new law designed to crack down on anti-war dissent following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The law, passed on March 4, makes it illegal to discredit Russia’s army and bans the spread of so-called “fake news.” The offence carries a jail term of up to 15 years.

Since then, more than two dozen Russian media outlets have ceased operations or been blocked by the country’s media regulator, according to the Guardian. Many international news organizations and social media platforms including the BBC and Meta’s Facebook have also been banned.

Meanwhile, almost 15,000 people have been detained for protesting the war.


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