Russian Filmmaker Calls for Tighter Control of Media

Stanislav Govorukhin, who was campaign chief for President Vladimir Putin in the last election and serves in the Russian parliament, says the media law adopted in the 1990s is no longer relevant.

MOSCOW -- Stanislav Govorukhin, a veteran film director and head of the culture committee at the State Duma, Russia’s lower chamber of parliament, has called for tighter control over the Russian mass media.

“It is time to revise the law on mass media, because it was made in the 'wild' 1990s,” Govorukhin, who was also campaign chief for Vladimir Putin in last year’s election, told the national TV network NTV, adding that the law no longer reflects contemporary realities and that Russians are no longer satisfied with the way media operate in the country.

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He admitted that the idea of allowing government interference with editorial policies may not be popular at first, but the situation could change.

“Today people may not support [the idea], but tomorrow everything could change,” he said, adding that he will initiate amendments to the existing law.

Govorukhin specifically addressed the issue of interrupting children’s programs with commercials, which the State Duma is currently considering. Under existing law, channels cannot run commercials during children’s programs, which has led to a decline in children’s programming on major federal channels. Duma deputies are considering two options for stepping up children’s programming: allowing networks to interrupt children’s shows with commercials or introducing a mandatory share of children’s shows on every station.

Govorukhin said he strongly supported the latter option.