Putin: State may commission TV shows

But rejects notion of full state control of mass media

MOSCOW -- Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has spoken in favor of commissioning TV shows by the state.

"We cannot begin to control mass media again," he said at a meeting with students of St. Petersburg's Humanities University on Tuesday, the RIA Novosti wire service reported. "(But state commissioning) would become a major tool of influence for the state in that area."

He added that, despite criticism of the country's major TV channels, they are headed by "responsible people."