Sam Greene, CEPA:
When it rains, it pours. The decision by the Latvian authorities to rescind the media license for Dozhd — a major, independent Russian online broadcaster — may be legally sound, depending on how you interpret Latvian media law. But as a matter of policy in the West’s resistance to Russia, it is folly.
Dozhd’s reported infractions range from failing to provide audio dubbing in Latvian, to accidentally showing a map that included Crimea in Russia, and an on-air statement by now ex-journalist Alexei Korostelev suggesting that the channel was seeking to support Russian troops on the frontline.
Korostelev’s statement was idiotic, all the more so because it did not in any sense reflect the station’s editorial position or even his own. It did, however, reflect the difficulty that independent Russian journalists and news outlets face in trying to convince Russians — first and foremost Russians living in Russia — to withdraw support for their country’s invasion of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Latvian authorities’ response similarly reflects a growing misunderstanding in the West of the role that independent Russian media can and indeed must play in ensuring Ukraine’s victory.