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Journalist who protested on Russian TV says ‘it was impossible to stay silent’

Journalist who protested on Russian TV says ‘it was impossible to stay silent’
Marina Ovsyannikova faces 15 years in prison under new laws criminalising ‘fake news’ against the Russian military

A Russian broadcast journalist arrested for her anti-war protests on live state television says “it was simply impossible to stay silent”.

Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor for Russie's Channel One, was found guilty for an “unauthorized public event” after holding up a “NO WAR” sign and releasing a public statement blaming Vladimir Poutine for the invasion of Ukraine.

Ms Ovsyannikova says many of her colleagues see the distortion between what is happening in Ukraine and the state propaganda being broadcast in Russia in an information war, adding even her elderly mother has been “brainwashed”.

“I can’t talk to her for five minutes because these phrases she keeps repeating, the phrases she keeps hearing on TV, the phrases that our propagandists created, and I think that 50 per cent of our society are like my mum,” Ms Ovsyannikova told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

She added the decision to protest live on air had been brewing for a while and grew with her feeling of cognitive dissonance

Between her personal beliefs and the official government narrative being broadcast.

“It was a growing sense of dissatisfaction that had been increasing every year, and the war was the point of no return, when it was simply impossible to stay silent," elle a dit.

Marina Ovsyannikova: TV protest ‘was my own decision

Ms Ovsyannikova, une mère de deux, was compelled to speak out given her memories of growing up as a 12-year-old girl in Chechnya, where Russia also conducted airstrikes during its war in 1991.

Her “administrative offence” carried a fine of 30,000 rubles, à propos de $280, but she could face tougher penalties under new laws with jail terms of up to 15 years for spreading “fake news” about Russia’s military.

“There is a criminal investigation underway, it’s still ongoing, and I don’t know what will happen next,” Ms Ovsyannikova.

The Kremlin described the protest as “hooliganism,” a criminal offence in the country. The sign, visible for about five seconds before the broadcast cut out, said in Russian: “No war, stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”

While Russian authorities continue to investigate her on-air protest, the initial offence brought against a pre-recorded statement released on social media shortly before the live broadcast of Channel One.

In that statement, she said the war was a crime and that Vladimir Putin was the one person responsible for the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

<p>Marina Ovsyannikova is seen holding up her anti-war sign on Russian TV </p>

Marina Ovsyannikova is seen holding up her anti-war sign on Russian TV

"Malheureusement, for the past few years, I have been working on Channel One and doing Kremlin propaganda, and now I am very ashamed of it,” she said in the video. “It’s a shame that I allowed to speak lies from the TV screens, ashamed that I allowed to zombify Russian people.”

“I am ashamed that we kept silent in 2014, when all this was just beginning,” she said in the video, a reference to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. “Don’t be afraid of anything. They can’t imprison us all," elle a dit.

After the court hearing, she told reporters was arrested, had her phone confiscated and was denied access to a lawyer during a 14-hour interrogation.

She has been without sleep for two days, has been holed up at a friend’s home, and fears for the safety of her two children.

“But I wanted to show the world that Russians are against the war, the majority of Russians are against the war. And even if they support the Kremlin policy, they are pacifists, they hate war," elle a dit.

“Everybody inside Russia is scared of what’s going on, everyone is confused, our life changed overnight, Russians are really scared by what’s going on and their faces show fear and confusion.”

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