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Head of Russian journalists' union criticizes authorities' attitude to media

Moscow, 11 February: The Russian Union of Journalists is beginning on Wednesday [11 February] a series of events dedicated to its 90th anniversary.

"Unfortunately, we have more unresolved problems than resolved ones. Some 15 years ago we were much more successful in defending our colleagues. The media used to be described as the fourth power, and now this would never occur to anyone; on the contrary, journalism is more and more associated with corruption," the chairman of the union, Vsevolod Bogdanov, told Interfax news agency on the occasion of the anniversary.

He sees the main reason for this situation as "the authorities' wrong understanding of the role of journalism, their overestimation of the role of propaganda and publicity and less attention being paid to the development of democracy".

"Good media means that the nation is conversing with itself, when they voice not only who is to be voted for. So we need to go back to understanding the role and the meaning of media for the successful and fully fledged development of the society," Bogdanov said.

The events to mark the 90th anniversary of the Union of Journalists will last for three days. In particular, the union's leaders will meet its regional heads, an international press assembly will be held, and all this will be crowned by a traditional press ball where the main award of the union - Golden Pens - will be presented.