Public television in Russia: it’s not the right time to launch it
Valdaiclub.com interview with Georgy Bovt, Editor-in-Chief of Russkymir.ru magazine.
What is public television and what should it be like?
As far as public television in Russia is concerned, it’s all about projects. Probably it will take the form of another state channel, similar to the First channel, the Russian television channel and some other channels in the regions.
Who will be responsible for the content and who will make programs for it?
So the main question is who will be responsible for the content. The editorship will be responsible for the content, this is quite clear. The other question is about some kind of advisory council. The next question will be about the composition of this advisory council – who will these people be, how will they be picked up and will they be free from political influence? These questions have not been answered yet.
How will society influence public television?
I know the projects and the plans which they are a part of, and I saw no clear mechanism for how society could exert influence on this sort of state channel, because if you take the British model, in the British model it’s more or less clear that people pay for public television and through the other mass media tools they can exert influence on public television. There are also cases where public opinion councils can be an indirect source of influence. In the Russian case I have no idea yet what sort of influence there will be. We can probably say that a more moderate and more balanced editorial policy for this public channel will be implemented by the editor-in-chief and his chief but whether this can be called any kind of public influence is open to question.
If it is the state that will finance public television, then what will be the difference between public television and the existing TV channels?
I think that the difference will be in the amount of advertising and in how it looks. It will avoid all the features that people find irritating in the other channels, such as cruelty, such as crime or nudity, or whatever they think about extremes. It will try to avoid these things to make it, so to speak, a more balanced channel, and that will be called a public channel.
In your opinion, is there real need for public television in Russia nowadays?
To be honest, no, I don’t see a real demand from society for this channel, and if there is no demand, probably, it’s not the right time to launch it, because we have enough state channels to probably become more balanced by themselves instead of launching a new channel, one with no clear limitations as guidelines for its editorial policy.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.