Journalistic Integrity Award
In March 2022, TV Rain (also known as Dozhd), Russia’s last independent television channel, was shut down by state authorities because its news coverage was often critical of President Vladimir Putin and the unprovoked war he launched against neighboring Ukraine. The channel’s final broadcast was a blatant protest: The entire staff gathered at the news desk and then walked off together as the anchors said “no war.” The feed cut to a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, a reference to the coup of August 1991, when TV stations aired the ballet for three days straight because they were barred from reporting live on the civil unrest.
TV Rain was founded in 2020, run by the defiant Natalya Sindeyeva, a former Moscow club-circuit celebrity-turned-press warrior. The channel had been banned from cable in 2014, even broadcasting from a studio apartment for a month, but it soldiered on, remaining online, and reporting the truth about the Russia-Ukraine conflict since its beginnings. Last year, Russia’s justice ministry declared it a “foreign agent” for its critical coverage of the Kremlin—a designation connoting suspicion that leads to extra government scrutiny—but TV Rain persevered. That is, until the telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor announced in March that it, too, would boot TV the channel, which, it said, had incited protests and disrupted the public.
Given the dangers and difficulties of speaking out against the Russian government, as well as increasing attacks against press freedom around the world, TV Rain stands as a beacon for speaking truth to power. For standing up for truth in a world besieged by disinformation and despots, the Board of Jurors recognizes TV Rain with the Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity.