Protest on Russian state-run TV channel goes viral

On Monday evening, journalist Marina Ovsyannikova ran on to the set during the live main news programme of Russian state-controlled TV station Channel 1 holding a sign with anti-war and anti-propaganda appeals. The scene only lasted a few seconds but reached millions of viewers. Ovsyannikova was arrested but has now been fined and released. The European press praises her courageous action.

Open/close all quotes
Novaya Gazeta (RU) /

A hero for the annals of history

Writing in Novaya Gazeta, journalist Alexander Minkin declares Marina Ovsyannikova a hero after her protest on live TV:

“She knew what she was getting into. ... But her children will be proud of her for the rest of their lives. ... I myself envy Ovsyannikova. It's the envy of a newspaper man whose articles are read by hundreds of thousands, if he's lucky, but her appeal has been seen by millions. ... Those millions who don't read newspapers, which is why they are the most important audience - one that has now heard words against [the war] whereas before Marina's appearance they only heard words for it. When political life has normalised and the state madness has been overcome, Ovsyannikova will go down in the annals of history. Because heroes always go down in the annals of history.”

Libertatea (RO) /

Keep your nerve for a long resistance

Many people in Romania considered it cowardly that the Russian dissident newspaper Novaya Gazeta, headed by Nobel Prize winner Dmitry Muratov, blanked out the poster in its report on the incident. The writer Vasile Ernu defends the decision in Libertatea:

“The winner here is not the one who puts on the biggest media spectacle but the one who has the nerves to keep up the resistance in the long term. ... I'm betting on the Novaya Gazeta team - they're following the right strategy. The Soviet experience teaches us that. From the experience of dissident resistance I know that it is those who organise and persevere for long-term resistance who have the prospect of winning a victory.”

Politiken (DK) /

Press freedom also in danger in democracies

Politiken stresses that press freedom is also under threat in the West:

“Marina Ovsyannikova's awe-inspiring courage reminds us that we must never take press freedom for granted. ... Finland is a democratic country, but there too, freedom of expression is under pressure. Three newspaper employees are facing prison sentences for writing about Finland's military security service. Unheard of in a democracy? Unfortunately not. Numerous Danish newspapers received visits from heads of the two Danish secret services a few weeks ago who blatantly threatened that they could face prosecution if they dared to reveal any secrets.”