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Russian TV officials accept criticism, say journalist entitled to his opinion

Television StudioMoscow, 26 November: Prominent journalist Leonid Parfenov, who on Thursday (25 November) was awarded the first Vladislav Listyev television prize and who at the awarding ceremony criticized the state for "taking over" federal television, is entitled to his own opinion and this opinion should be heeded, according to experts of the TV media community. (Passage omitted)

"Lenya (Leonid) expressed his point of view. He is a man who does not hold any post and this is his own point of view. One can agree with him or one can argue with him but one can't ban him from expressing it or judge him for it because then we will indeed be going back to what he warns us about," Anatoliy Lysenko, president of the International Television and Radio Academy, told RIA Novosti.

He said he shared Parfenov's position to a certain degree.

"Probably because of my age, I would have put it more diplomatically but, as regards its content, I think many in the audience shared his view," Lysenko said, adding that the journalist's speech "came as somewhat a surprise to all".

He also admitted that "the intelligentsia, and not only the intelligentsia, are concerned about today's state of freedom".

Mikhail Shvydkoy, president of the Russian TV Academy Foundation, also said that a professional journalist was entitled to his own opinion.

"From my point of view, a journalist who receives a prize he has been awarded by his colleagues who have recognized him as the best TV journalist of the year, is entitled to his own opinion. Some may like this opinion and others may not like it, but this man is undoubtedly a real professional and his opinion should be heeded even by those who think it is totally unfair," Shvydkoy told RIA Novosti.

As regards the state (TV) channels, the situation is very simple, according to him.

"The channels have their owner - the state - which protects its position and has the right to express its point of view. At the same time one should realize that television today is not the only source of information. The most active part of society receives information from other media - the internet, the electronic and printed media, and non-state channels," Shvydkoy said.

According to him, it is important to realize that "no doubt, rigid regulation of TV information and analysis can't produce desirable results today". (Passage omitted)

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