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Independent Siberian TV Channel Goes Off The Air

One of Russia's most respected independent regional television stations went off the air shortly after midnight after the local state-owned broadcasting center canceled its transmission agreement.

Tomsk TV-2 in western Siberia ended terrestrial broadcasting on January 1.

According to Interfax, the channel can still be seen via cable.

Instead of broadcasting Russian President Vladimir Putin's traditional New Year's message, the station broadcast a message from chief editor Viktor Muchnik, thanking viewers for supporting the channel over the last 23 years.

Local courts rejected three appeals from Tomsk TV-2 arguing that the broadcast center's decision to cancel the contract even though Tomsk TV-2 has a broadcasting license was illegal.

Tomsk TV-2 is an award-winning regional channel that is known for its editorial independence.

Staff and management believe the decision to close it was politically motivated.

With reporting by Interfax
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