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28 Jun, 2007 19:02

Communists protest against TV censorship in Russia

Several hundred Communist Party members have staged a demonstration outside Moscow's Ostankino TV Centre to protest against the content of Russian television.

Journalists from several Russian TV channels were forced to work on news programmes with loud shouting coming from outside.
The Ostankino TV tower – the highest building in Moscow – is one of the city's symbols. The communists call it “a nest of ideological sabotage”, as one of their banners made clear.
“The youth has stopped watching TV. Every time you switch it on you see either policemen fighting criminals or criminals fighting each other,” said one of protesters.
Last year the communists organised a march “Against Lies and Censorship on TV”. But they say it didn't result in any changes in the media. So, they decided to hold another protest without changing their main demands – to clear Russia's screens of violence and erotic material and to give more TV time to the Communist Party.
“All parties and movements must have equal coverage. The TV bosses have to stop debasing our country,” Anatoly Sedokov, a teacher, said.
While the communists say they rarely get on television, TV professionals see the situation differently.
Aleksey Pushkov hosts a popular political show on Russian TV. He says he's never experienced any pressure from the authorities.
“I have been criticising quite a few ministers – our Minister of Culture, our Minister of Social Development, of Economic Development, the Finance Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, not the current one but the previous one, and somehow I am still doing my job,” he noted.
But his words are unlikely to convince the Communists.