Kolomytseva to continue making show on communal affairs, either on TV or online
Penza, 21 April 2016. PenzaNews. The TV show “Checked. Communal Services Front” that was taken off the air of “Express” TV channel – for political reasons, according to claims by Lyudmila Kolomytseva, Penza civil activist, All-Russian People’s Front expert, follower of “A Just Russia” party’s course and assistant editor-in-chief of “Novaya Sotsialnaya Gazeta” newspaper – will stay alive in one format or the other.
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“The project must stay alive, online or elsewhere. This is truly, perhaps, a one-of-a-kind TV show on communal affairs to date,” Lyudmila Kolomytseva claimed during her press conference held in the counseling office of the regional “A Just Russia” party branch on Thursday, April 21.
She pointed out that the program that, according to her, “was designed for hundreds of thousands of Penza region citizens to see,” was planned “for many runs ahead” to last at least to the middle of this summer.
Lyudmila Kolomytseva suggested that the reasons provided by the top management of “Express” as grounds for taking the program off the air are unsustainable, as the money for the project were transferred on time and the show was announced through TV programs in newspapers two weeks ahead of time.
According to the payment document presented by Lyudmila Kolomytseva, the sum of 50,000 rubles without the goods and services tax “for publication of a personal TV show” were transferred in early April 2016 from the account of the “Communal Affairs Front” foundation in the Eurofinance Mosnarbank commercial bank (in Moscow) to the account of “Express” advertising agency, which belongs to the daughter of the former Penza region governor Vasily Bochkarev, opened in the Nizhny Novgorod branch of Alfa-Bank.
The civil activist placed the emphasis on the fact that “the mass media enjoy hard time right now, during the crisis, and there must be a good reason to not release a show for money.”
“That means something else must have been the reason. I might make a suggestion that there was pressure from the local authorities, who do not want any detailed coverage of the truly urgent issues, such as the [dilapidated] housing problem. […] That would be uncomfortable for the authorities, and I think it didn’t happen without some calls or visits from the powers that be,” she shared her thoughts.
After a PenzaNews reporter asked Lyudmila Kolomytseva about whether she tried to ask the “Express” channel management herself about the reasons behind taking the coveted TV show off the air, she made it clear that it was not in her list of priorities.
“I did not ask the TV channel directly. The ‘Communal Services Front’ foundation did – the entity which paid for the program. We received a letter of explanation in return. But I think the arguments are not strong enough. It says there were purely technical reasons [to take the show off the air] – something related to the contract and the failure to negotiate the media schedule. But I think that is not true,” she stressed.
“I am only the host of the show, nothing more than that. Why should I be the one to hold the talks? I was simply informed that the show is taken off the air, that’s it,” the follower of “A Just Russia” added.
Discussing the were-to-be runs that now would be unavailable for the regional TV audience, Lyudmila Kolomytseva announced that one of the upcoming runs was dedicated to the issues in Nizhny Lomov.
“The problems the Penza citizens are encountering right now pale before what is happening in Nizhny Lomov,” the civil activist pointed out.
In her address to the people at her press conference, she placed particular emphasis on “they can shut down any one of us, just like they shut down this ‘Express’ TV project.”
However, Lyudmila Kolomytseva indirectly admitted that “Novaya Sotsialnaya Gazeta” newspaper where she works as the assistant editor-in-chief and has been writing on the very same communal affairs topic for a long time receives no demands to stay away from “uncomfortable subjects,” and the only arguments against this notion that she could list took place a year ago.
“Yes, there was [pressure], let me tell you now how it was. For example, up until last autumn, we were not invited to any press conferences,” she said.
After receiving a request to provide less dated examples, Lyudmila Kolomytseva stressed that “it all was resolved only recently.”
“For example, I don’t have… ‘Novaya Sotsialnaya Gazeta’ doesn’t have any contracts with the regional contracts, let’s begin with that. That’s it. I think the answer is simple,” she noted.
Discussing the future of the show “Checked. Communal Affairs Front,” Lyudmila Kolomytseva suggested that the project is likely to remain active only online.
“If you take into account that we don’t have much TV channels in Penza and there isn’t much of a choice. And that there are no purely independent – truly independent – channels, as TV broadcast is expensive; perhaps we will have to do with being online somehow,” she concluded.
Presently, the recent runs of the show “Checked. Communal Affairs Front” did not attract too much attention from the online audience. As of 18.00 of Thursday, April 21, the first run received 72 views on YouTube, while the second run was watched 232 times.