Censorship - live on Russian TV

Could the Kremlin censor an entertainment programme on live TV? According to Russian bloggers, that's exactly what happened on one of the country's national television channels. 

The programme, "Phenomenon," aired on the state-run Rossiya channel on Sept. 5. In the live broadcast, Russian magician and self-styled psychic Alexander Char played a version of the children's game Cluedo, telling the audience that the details of a murder were in a safe. Then he asked three audience members to name first a weapon, then a place, then the person who committed the crime. 

The first guinea pig in the audience chose a knife, the second, Munich, and third, after much hesitation... "Putin." An assistant wrote the details on a board: Putin, in Munich, with a knife. The scenario apparently didn't please the show's producers, and a man in a suit, wearing a headset, rushes onto the stage to tell the psychic to remove the name from the list. But it can't be done, spluttered the presenter, there's nothing to rub it out with. What follows is an extraordinary scene, with the man in the suit barking orders from offstage while the presenters try to explain themselves, until the name Putin is removed by the nervous-looking assistant and replaced with simply "Vladimir".

The scene seems as if it could have been staged: the man in the suit makes such a dramatic entry, and his microphone is open to the audience. That was our team's first reaction when they saw the video sent by our Russian observers. However many Russian journalists we spoke to confrimed that the scene was broadcast on Russian TV. So we decided to go ahead and publish this video, fully understanding how unlikely or unbelievable this incident is. Our Russian observers also told us that Russian television networks are all controlled by the authorities.

UPDATE (12 September 2008 - 2pm): Following some further research and comments posted on this piece, we can confirm that the man who intervenes onstage is a co-presenter. That explains why he has a microphone. It looks like a case of auto-censoring on the part of the co-presenter.

We additionally found out that the show was also aired in eastern Russia, later then the live version in Moscow. In that show, the scene in question had disappeared - something else that seems to support the idea that the censorship was live.

Contributors

"We should change his last name"

The subtitles were added by France 24. That's why the France 24 logo appears on the video. The subtitles begin at 00:30.

Comments

Putin and his marionette

If you think that Russia is democratic, you have big mistake. There are NO one TV channel that doesn't get instructions and censorship from Kremlin. Situation even worse then 10 years ago. Free elections in Russia nowdays is illusion, They simply doesn't allow democratic candidants who have any chances to participate in elections. Putin's Russia is autocratic country and Medvedev his marionette.

"If you think that Russia is

"If you think that Russia is democratic, you have big mistake."
Of course. The same go with USA or any other country. In reality the only place true democracy ever existed, if ever, was Athens 3 centuries before the Christ

"There are NO one TV channel that doesn't get instructions and censorship from Kremlin."
Exactly. The same way as there is no major media in US without control of those who control the White House. It is even easy to see that almost all of them are owned by few, extremely rich, that control that house.

"Situation even worse then 10 years ago."
I copletely agree especially after they introduced deregulation of media in USA dus allowing few rich to dominate information domain. Was the son of general Pawel responsible for that law?

"Free elections in Russia nowdays is illusion, They simply doesn't allow democratic candidants who have any chances to participate in elections."

This is nonses. No-one was forbidden to participate. And according to every poll analysis done by any world agency Putin had extremely hign approval rate.

"Putin's Russia is autocratic country and Medvedev his marionette."
W
hat would you thing about Bush America. Or is it Dick's America.... I am confused,... Who is there who's marionette?
What is the chance of anyone who has no support of coorporative capital and media to win... If Russia is authocracy, and there are really elemnts of this, is America oligarhy of few rich. And what about education in USA where almost 80% people belive that Sarah knows issues on international relations simply because Alaska is close to Russia, that McCain is more experienced then Obama in same subject and at the same time they canot show Germany, or Ukraine or Brazil on the map of the World. How the hell they come to that concluion?
How can you have real democracy with people who are supposed to elect and know so few.... Based on what they choose?
I am nice will help you. They choose based on DOCTRINE or PERUSASION created by MEDIA. Those Political Analysts are nothing but OPINION MAKERS who do that for god chunk of money. If you spice it with a bit of good old FEAR there you go..

Yes Russia is behind the France of Germany in respect of democracy, but nealry that much as suggested. With respect to USA, I really doubt.

Kremlin propaganda

You can write this Kremlin propaganda to Russians and may be they believe you, because many of them get brain wash every day on every possible way, mostly they don't know that can be other opinion. But we, free people know exactly that all European countries and US have totally free tv and radio stations, free newspapers and internet sites. Every journalist can criticize Bush or Sarkozy. Of cause in Russia it's the same, everyone can criticize......Bush or Sarkozy. But if he criticize Putin or his marionette he will get bullet in the head like dozens of journalist that was killed in Russia.

Rio, judging by your strong

Rio, judging by your strong accent and knowledge of Russian jokes, you not so long ago go in white trousers (as all inhabitants of Rio) and use a freedom of speech:)))

You can start working for KGB

Maybe they need patriot suckers like you, who trust them.

It's not censorship. The

It's not censorship. The surname of the prime minister is used in a context of a certain crime - "Putin has committed a crime with a knife in Munich ". This is insult, therefore there was a nervousness. Surprisingly another - who has started up in the air of the obvious provoker with the person of the American preacher and with the thought over and prepared provocation?
True censorship exists today in the West. And you, misters journalists, perfectly know it. Can you fairly write, for example, about a role of Russia in the Second World War, about that, how many the Soviet people were lost, releasing Europe from fascism, that allies have opened the second front only when have understood - the USSR has already won Germany and can extend the influence on all Europe. It and many other things (including aggression of Georgia) - a taboo subject for your news media. And you speak - censorship... It's ridiculously.

What happened?

Yes, what happened to Mr. Igor Frolov? Did he suffer from an inner meltdown of the size of the Tjernobyl.

What the fuck, pardon my french, has World War II to do with this censorship on a direct TV-show???

You are right in one thing. We do see censorship in the western medias too, mostly done by mental neanderthals. And from my point of view, people who tries to control medias everywhere are mental neanderthals no matter where they come from on this box. Consider yourself as such. There is no doubt that Putin is a murder. So, what´s the problem by using this issue in an entertainment program, now that we all know it already? I realy cannot see the problem.

You see, here from where I come from, our primeminister was scetched in a featurefilm as a homosexual, which he is. He just doesn´t want to admit it. But does that lead to censorship? No, of course not. Art, medias and opinions are free here, and I think it has to go hand in hand with a democracy, if not, you could never talk about a free democracy. So, think about that instead World War II, it´s long gone pal.

The dear friend, understand,

The dear friend, understand, at last, anywhere is not free democracy. The capital (not a city but money:) has transformed all of you into herd which it cuts, milks and cuts. And all it becomes under the democracy slogan. Who has money - he has a power. And all other slogans about a freedom of speech and democracy - it's for idiots. And your media do these idiots, creating visibility of a freedom of speech in insignificant occasions. But on key problems which are dangerous to the power, your media will not tell truths never.

Release from fascism?

Russians claim that only they fought against in Germany.Why you Russians never say beside you there were different nationalities?French partisans did less?or nobody fought? And how about Americans?Italians?Ukrainians?Armenians?Belorussians?Georgians?Kazakh?and so on?
Russians fought different my grandfather was telling stories that Russian were dressed in Germans uniform and going to villages and burning Ukrainian people houses and killing children and blame Germans to inspire hate,show how Germans were brutal to make more aggressive fight against Germans.
And at the end Russians conquered Poland,Germany and took over Hitlers possition.
How about Chechnia?Blame on Chechen people when Putin order to blow up 2 buildings in Moscow?In Noth Ossetia in "Beslan" they killed 1000 kids in school?Blame Chachen?and then genoside Chechen people.How about Abkhasians and Osetians in 1992 killed and telling to Abkhazians and Osetians as if were Georgians to made them to hate each other.So Russians always has been dictators and KGB sole.

Maya is absolutely ritght.

Maya is absolutely ritght.

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