President Dmitry Medvedev’s call for a new public television platform last December conjured visions of a Russian BBC for the country’s liberals. Yet worries are now growing that the president’s control over the new television station could prevent it from broadcasting opinions critical of the government. Medvedev has maintained that the new station will be the freest television channel in Russia. But like a number of other liberal initiatives that Medvedev has undertaken in the waning days of his presidency, the television station is increasingly being seen as a half-measure meant to mollify the public.
Medvedev signed a decree creating the new public station on Tuesday, saying it would likely be released by next January. Speaking at his “Open Government” initiative, Medvedev said that “measures have been taken to relieve needless government influence on the activities of this public institution.”
Now, controversy is centering on just how independent Russia’s public television will be.