Minister slams Russian TV standards

Alexander Avdeyev uses first speech to condemn

MOSCOW -- Alexander Avdeyev, the new Russian culture minister appointed two months ago, on Wednesday slammed the quality of national TV channels in his first public address at the State Duma, the lower chamber of parliament.

Avdeyev said that the country’s TV channels “are not in line with the state’s cultural policy” and that “television is littered with material of poor quality and morals, which only does harm and no good.” The minister also sharply criticized local film distributors for showing “bad-quality American movies.”

According to Avdeyev, of all the national channels, his ministry is satisfied only with the content on Kultura (Culture), which is not currently available across the whole territory, but should become so after a switch to digital television scheduled for 2011.

Observers say that the minister’s criticism, which almost coincided with similar condemnation of TV content voiced by some public institutions, including the Orthodox church, may lead to dramatic changes in the government’s policy towards television, possibly including the replacement of the main state-run channels’ management.

Currently, the federal government controls, directly or indirectly, the First Channel, Rossiya, NTV, Sport and Kultura (respectively, the first, second, third, seventh and twelfth channels in terms of the size of audiences).
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