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Russian Rights Envoy Laments Lack Of Progress In Limiting State Media Control

File Photo of Russian Television StudioMoscow, 19 April: Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights under the president of the Russian Federation, has once again called for the process of reducing state involvement in the media sector to be launched.

"For us it is fundamentally important to resolve the issue of reducing state involvement," Fedotov said on Tuesday (19 April) at hearings in the Public Chamber.
[file photo of Russian television studio]

He also recalled that Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev raised this issue in his address (to the Federal Assembly).

Furthermore, Fedotov recalled that "back in 2002 the then press minister Mikhail Lesin spoke about this, saying that the state should be left with only one television channel, one radio station, one newspaper and one news agency".

"Over nine years we have not got a single millimetre closer to this goal, and have only gone in the opposite direction," Fedotov noted.

Meanwhile he stressed that "it is important to understand that privatization in the sphere of the media is not the same as privatization in the shoe industry". "Here it is important that the urge for economic profits does not swallow up the interest in objective and all-round media," Fedotov explained.

For his part, the president of the National Association of Television and Radio Broadcasters, Eduard Sagalayev, said that his organization was carrying out a certain degree of monitoring of the state media, and "there is a lot of mist here".

"There are companies which essentially belong to wives (of state leaders on various levels - Interfax) or their agents. Therefore you have to have a road map to somehow start to make any progress in this matter. And furthermore, I can draw attention to the fact that some governors have already said that despite this message from the president (to reduce state involvement in the media - Interfax), they are not intending to change anything in terms of media ownership," Sagalayev said, without saying which governors said this.


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