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Kremlin Media Monopoly 4ever?

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.



Cross-party Members of the European Parliament and Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), concerned by the ongoing deterioration of media freedom in the Russian Federation and shocked by the collaboration of some European companies with the Kremlin's censorship, will organise a conference on 17 March 2010 to discuss the case of the Georgian-based satellite TV channel, First Caucasian Channel.

First Caucasian Channel is the first Caucasian TV channel broadcasting in Russian independent from the Kremlin or its proxies. The channel had an agreement that it was to be relayed via Eutelsat's satellite W7. Yet after signing a deal with Russia's Intersputnik, Eutelsat, the main European satellite provider, reneged on its agreement with the First Caucasian Channel.

A court case is pending in Paris and a campaign to support the First Caucasian Channel is gathering pace in Europe. Meanwhile, the channel remains unavailable on Eutelsat, being relayed over the internet only. The case raises serious questions about the commitment of some European companies to respect media pluralism and European principles in their deals with authoritarian regimes.

On 17 March 2010, Ekaterina Kotrikadze, editor-in-chief of the First Caucasian Channel, the Russian filmamaker Andrei Nekrasov, and other Russian journalists will hold a debate about the case of the First Caucasian Channel, moderated by MEP Heidi Hautala, Chairperson of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights, at the European Parliament in Brussels.



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