Former Russian state TV journalist charged with propaganda

Former Russian state TV journalist charged with propaganda

A former state TV journalist who resigned after an on-air protest against Moscow's war in Ukraine, Russian authorities have arrested and charged him.

Marina Ovsyannikova was charged last month over a protest she staged last month, holding a banner that said Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists. There are 352 killed in Ukraine. How many more children should die for you to stop? Ovsyannikova's lawyer said she was charged with spreading false information about Russia's armed forces.

If convicted, Ovsyannikova faces up to 10 years in prison under a new law that penalises statements against the military and was enacted shortly after Russian troops entered Ukraine, her lawyer, Dmitry Zakhvatov, said in a Telegram post.

On Wednesday the home of Ovsyannikova was raided and she was taken for questioning.

The former producer for Russian state-funded Channel One would spend the night in a holding cell at Moscow police headquarters, according to Mr Zakhvatov.

Ovsyannikova made international headlines on March 14, when she appeared behind the anchor of an evening news broadcast holding a poster that said: Stop the war, don't believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here. Ovsyannikova was charged with disabling the Russian military and fined 30,000 roubles $380 at the time.

She was fined two more times in recent weeks for discrediting the military in a critical Facebook post and comments she made at a court where opposition figure Ilya Yashin was remanded in custody pending trial for spreading false information about the military.

According to Net Freedoms, there were 79 criminal cases on charges of spreading false information about the Russian military and up to 4,000 administrative cases on charges of disparaging the armed forces as of Wednesday, according to a legal aid group focusing on free speech cases.

Independent journalists in Russia have come under special scrutiny from the Kremlin.

A Moscow court fined the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta 350,000 roubles $8,000 for abusing the freedom of mass information. The newspaper shut down in March.

The editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

He auctioned off his prize in June to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees. The gold medal sold for $145.6 million.