Russia's Fifth Channel to ax 15% of jobs

Global economic crisis also puts projects on hold

MOSCOW -- Russia's Fifth Channel on Tuesday announced it is laying off personnel and putting projects on hold in response to the ongoing global downturn, becoming the country's first major TV channel to react to the crisis.

"Unfortunately, the global economic crisis has hit us as well," a Fifth Channel spokesperson said. "So, we're laying off 15% of all the staff nationwide as of Nov. 1 and are putting on hold some projects in a bid to optimize costs." She added that no changes in the channel's programming are planned.

Meanwhile, several of the channel's bureaus in larger Russian cities will be closed and some Russian media is reporting that the actual cutbacks could be more substantial than the figure announced by the channel.

Based in St. Petersburg, the news-focused Fifth Channel is the most recent local channel to date to acquire the status of a national channel, a status it was granted in November.
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