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#3 - JRL 7186
BBC Monitoring
Russian journalists not optimistic about media developments in the country
Source: TVS, Moscow, in Russian 1500 gmt 16 May 03
Excerpt from report by Russian TVS television on 16 May

Presenter: It so happened that today journalists discussed some issues Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about in his annual address. A congress of the Union of Journalists opened in Moscow today 16 May .

Correspondent: Today the Union of Russian Journalists tried to determine the main guidelines for its work of the next several years. It has turned out that before the coming parliamentary election the journalists are seriously worried over the protection of their interests.

The vulnerability of journalists as well as of owners of media agencies against the authorities was identified the main problem at the congress today.

Addressing the meeting, State Duma Speaker Gennadiy Seleznev spoke also about a threat to the freedom of speech. According to him, however, the threat comes from oligarchs rather than from the authorities.

He said that amendments to the media law cannot violate the rights of journalists...

Despite the agenda all speeches were in one way or another about the ever topical Russian issue - the media and the power. None of the speakers sounded optimistic.

Journalist Andrey Cherkizov: I hope that one day there will be a law in my country that will ban government agencies to set up any kind of media agencies, press agencies as well as electronic and the Internet ones. applause

President of Centre TV, Oleg Poptsov, captioned as journalist: As a rule those ideas that can unite people do not come up at a funeral. I would not like the leadership of the union to lose its creative energy that can unite people around something...

Correspondent: Judging from the remarks in the audience and discussions in the foyer it seemed that the delegates had still no single opinion about who is to blame and what should be done. Some consider the amendments to the media law as pressure on the press, others thought that journalists themselves should be blamed for all this, for digging for dirt and for material published to an order.

Journalist Aleksandr Minkin: Thousands and thousands of journalists are called journalists by mistake. They are spin doctors and this difference is the same as the one between the mother of a family and a prostitute. This is just a different profession...

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