Sergei Snegov: some thoughts about NTV

Claims laid by NTV journalists (to whom?) are nothing to do with journalism. For me, it is all too simple. NTV is a private television network where the shareholder meeting has decided to change the channel’s management. It is absolutely a normal occurrence. For some reason, the NTV staff thinks it is a sacred cow – they want to work with Messrs. Kiselyov and Gusinsky and nobody else, and no shareholder meetings cannot lay down the law for them. The situation is no novelty for Russia, though. In 1999, for example, the Delovoi Mir newspaper changed hands, the editorial board being laid off in full, and the paper closed. As a result, a completely new outlet was created having quite a different orientation. There were no protests, no hysteria. Those dismissed just found them new jobs, for it was not that difficult for professionals. Now, the NTV staff does not seem to adequately face reality. The journalists are haunted by fear of plots, police raids, the “hand of the Kremlin,” and other popular bugaboos. Surely, there have been much talk of the “infringement of the freedom of speech.” Incidentally, how will you call a week of discussing on a nationwide channel of the journalists’ exclusively internal problems? So, who infringes NTV? Gazprom? No. Gazprom calls for a dialogue, without resorting to force whatsoever. The state? But by what means? Or, maybe it is Ted Turner who now infringes NTV? In my view, things are rather plain. The dismissal of Mr. Kiselyov and Co. means a removal from a lucrative feeding-trough of the majority of NTV journalists (the rest has already broken away, largely, to the Kremlin-controlled RTR channel). Leonid Parfyonov had every reason to mention in his open letter that young journalists were held hostage by the Kiselyov team. All in all, it looks like NTV journalists may be facing hospitalization before too long. Another week spent in the paranoia-hit corridors of the NTV office building, and ambulance cars might as well be geared up.

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