Russian TV employee who protested Ukraine war on air fined $270

The Russian journalist who held up an anti-war sign during a state-run news broadcast was fined 30,000 rubles, or around $270, by a Moscow court on Tuesday on charges of organizing unsanctioned actions.

Russia’s Investigative Committee is also probing whether Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at the news broadcast service Channel One, might be charged with publicly spread false information, The Associated Press reported.

She could still be charged under the “fake news” law the Russian parliament passed after the invasion of Ukraine began, which can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, according to the AP.

The Channel One editor on Monday ran behind a news anchor during a live broadcast and held up a sign that read: “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you here.”

The on-air protest was quickly cut off by Channel One, and Ovsyannikova was detained by authorities.

Ovsyannikova also recorded a video before she appeared on the broadcast, during which she apologized for working with Channel One and “doing Kremlin propaganda.”

“I’m very ashamed of it — that I let people lie from TV screens and allowed the Russian people to be zombified,” she said in the video. “We didn’t say anything in 2014 when it only just began. We didn’t protest when the Kremlin poisoned [anti-Russian government protester Alexei Navalny]. We just silently watched this inhuman regime.

“Now the whole world has turned away from us, and 10 generations of our descendants won’t wash off this fratricidal war,” she added.

Russia has enforced strict laws that prohibits news services from even calling the conflict in Ukraine a war; instead, publications and channels must refer to it as a “special operation.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday expressed gratitude for Ovsyannikova’s protest, saying he was “grateful to those Russians who do not stop trying to convey the truth.”

—Updated at 3:40 p.m.

Tags Marina Ovsyannikova Protests Russia Russia-Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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