On air staffers at Russian state owned media outlets leaving, taking time off during invasion

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More staffers at Russian state owned media are quitting or taking vacations as the country’s assault on Ukraine drags on.

The BBC reports Zhanna Agalakova quit as European correspondent from stated owned Channel One, the same network where Marina Ovsyannikova interrupted a live broadcast with a protest sign.

At NTV, which is also state owned, Lilia Gildeyeva, said to be a favorite of Vladimir Putin’s, quit and fled the country.

“At first I left, I was afraid that they wouldn’t just let me go,” she told independent Varlamov News. NTV’s Vadim Glusker also quit.

Ivan Urgant, a comedian and actor who has grown to be one of Russia’s most prominent TV personalities said on Instagram that he has taken a vacation.

The announcement was accompanied by a black box with a Russian message that translates to “Fear and pain. No war.”

VGTRK, another state controlled outlet, has reportedly had multiple resignations as well.

Russia is known for having a large trove of state controlled media outlets that are often criticized for ignoring topics not favored by the Kremlin, spreading false or misleading information and for flat out distributing government propaganda.

The country does have independent media outlets as well, but many of these have been forced to close at least in part due to new laws that ban spreading information that doesn’t line up with what government officials are saying.

Meanwhile, media outlets from other countries and underground ones within the region still attempt to operate, despite reports of key websites being blocked by the Russian government in an effort to control what its residents see.

Some outlets have set up sites accessible via the Tor browser, where others are turning to anonymous messaging apps such as Telegram to attempt to get reporting out.