Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he is ready to consider the issue of creating public television in Russia, independent from government and business, if appropriate ways of financing such projects are suggested.
“Public television is a good thing,” Medvedev said. “And in fact the German experience…can be used, but we must understand the principles on which this TV will work in our country. If this is the principle of collecting a tax from practically every citizen, then, of course, it could cause some problems, and then it is required to find another funding channel.”
Russia has only a handful of independent newspapers and just one independent TV channel.
Medvedev added that media, especially regional, should become self-financing in future. Medvedev said that when a regional media receives financial aid from authorities they begin to serve their interests. “It would be better if they existed independently.”
Unlike the Russian press and state-run TV channels, the rapidly growing Runet, or Russian Internet, has avoided government censorship and restrictions, turning it into a forum for anti-government discussions.
Medvedev dismissed rumors last week that the government planned to impose Chinese-style restrictions on the internet.
Russia is 173rd out of 196 countries in the 2011 Freedom of the Press report.