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Public Appeal to Advertisers on NTV: Don’t Support the Machine of Repression

19 November 2012 

Source: For Human Rights

On 19 November 2012 a group of civil society organizations issued an open appeal to Western companies calling on them to stop advertising on the NTV TV company,  since in practice this is supporting political repression in Russia. As of 19 November 2012 the appeal has been supported by: “White Ribbon” Movement, Moscow Civic Forum and the group “Resistance”. The appeal has also been signed by Lev Ponomarev, executive director of the movement “For Human Rights” and the writer and political scientist Andrei Piontkovsky. The text of the appeal runs as follows:

L’Oréal International
Nestlé S.A.
Ferrero S.p.A. 
Ferrero Russia CJSC 
The Coca-Cola Company 
Groupe Danone 
Procter & Gamble 

Dear Sirs, 

On 5 October 2012, the NTV TV channel aired the pseudo-documentary ‘Anatomy of Protest-2,’ containing, in particular, an episode in which a number of opposition figures met with a Georgian politician at which allegedly they discussed the destabilization of the situation in Russia. 

This material continued the NTV series of pseudo-documentaries on the protest movement and NGOs. In June 2012, the Public Board for Press Complaints at the Union of Journalists of Russia found this series disgraceful and discrediting the genre of investigative journalism, and its creators unworthy to be called journalists. 

Despite the fact that the authenticity of the videos used in the NTV material raises questions among many experts, the very next day, the General Prosecutor's Office and the Investigative Committee of Russia began, almost simultaneously, to investigate the stories and commentaries used in this television program.

Following the investigation, a criminal case was launched into the preparation of riots (Articles 30 and 212 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Within the framework of this case, two of the main figures who had featured in the TV programme - Konstantin Lebedev and Leonid Razvozzhaev - were arrested and illegally placed in detention. Moreover, as is well-known, on 19 October Mr. Razvozzhaev was kidnapped near the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine in Kiev and then illegally brought to Moscow. 

Subsequently, Leonid Razvozzhaev told human rights defenders who visited him that he was tortured and was forced to give false testimony.

A defendant in the same case was Sergei Udaltsov, a prominent opposition politician.

All of the above proves that NTV has actually turned into an integral part of the machinery for repression of dissidents. The pseudo-documentaries broadcast on this channel were not only aimed at publicly discrediting the opposition and NGOs, but they were also used to fabricate quasi-judicial excuses for a cynical crack-down on opposition activists and the suppression of civil society.

In the light of the above, we ask that you consider stopping placing your company’s advertising on the NTV channel, as this is a form of financing politically-motivated prosecutions.

We would also like to inform you that, in the near future, there will be a large-scale open-ended campaign in Russia, the countries of the CIS, and also Western Europe and North America to boycott the products of companies that continue to advertise on NTV. 

We hope for your understanding. 

Yours sincerely,

"White Ribbon" Movement
Moscow Civic Forum 
The Group "Resistance" 
Lev Ponomarev, executive director of the movement "For Human Rights" 
Andrei Piontkovsky, writer, political scientist 
Anatoly Baranov, chief editor of