Social media battles state-controlled television in Russia

Wed 21 March 2012 12:00, Tamara Yadvichuk

Social media battles state-controlled television in Russia

Political situation in Russia becomes more and more intense. While the Anti-Putin opposition utilizes the power of social media to share opinions and organize protests against the current president, the traditional media appears to be supporting the ruling party. 

A new wave of pickets began when NTV, a popular state-owned TV-channel aired this disputable documentary on March 15th. Among other things, the film claimes that people who took part in the recent political protests against Putin received money for showing up and taking part in the demonstrations.

The statements made by NTV resonated all over the Russian-speaking internet with numerous messages and blog posts (here’s one by the famous Russian journalist and LiveJournal blogger Alexey Navalny).

Within a few hours the hashtags #НТВлжет [NTV lies] and #идукостанкино [I’m going to Ostankino – TV tower in Moscow where NTV is located] hit the top in Russian-language Twitter.

Facebook and Vkontakte events encouraging people to gather at the Ostankino tower have been joined by more than 5000 users overall; several groups and posts on Facebook, Vkontakte and LiveJournal are urging people to boycott NTV by not watching their shows and not buying products they promote – this post even provides a list of brands which advertise on NTV!

NTV has received DDoS attacks by Anonymous which kept their website from working for several days.


Social media in Russia provides a unique independent platform for political opposition – something that the county has been lacking for many years, and its influence is growing as more people join social networks and internet-based communities. We’ll see what happens next…

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