VGTRK head Oleg Dobrodeyev: Failure of the journalist system is what is happening in Russia

Oleg Dobrodeyev, who heads the VGTRK, or the All-Russia State TV and Radio Commission, thinks the NTV business has gone "too far to be just a squabble over a TV company." "Failure of the journalist system is what is happening in Russia now," Dobrodeyev told the Izvestiya newspaper. According to the VGTRK chief, "it is not just the status of journalists inside the corporation that is changing, their role in society, their relations with the state, with owners, with money are all changing too." Before the scandal, journalists "were free to harbor an illusion" that "we get paid because we are good," but now they will have to "answer the same question every day -- where do we get the money and how do we earn it?" In Dobrodeyev's opinion, over the past year the situation with NTV "could have gone in different directions." The whole business might have "evolved into a catastrophe," noted Dobrodeyev, who thinks he is also "partially to blame for that." "When I realized it was time to join the negotiating process, it was too late," he said, recalling that "on two occasions, Kiselyov refused to join Pozner in a live discussion" with the VGTRK head. "The management, the owners of the channel should have talked things over instead of driving journalists to despair, to this half-crazed state," but the NTV management apparently "had already thought of a way out" and were keeping it to themselves, said Dobrodeyev, who thinks "NTV will be replaced by a new company now." "Being the best non-governmental company, NTV must survive," went on the VGTRK chief. "Strange as it may seem, today it has a better chance of surviving." As soon as the crisis is over, "the new management will have no other option but do what it can to make NTV more independent and more respectable than it is now." "The task facing the new management is to get rid of all that's alien to the company and prepare it for public sale," believes Dobrodeyev. Hopefully, "we have a normal life ahead, a life that is calmer and less hysterical, but, alas, poorer. I mean metropolitan stars. No more big 'political' salaries for them." Dobrodeyev does not think the NTV conflict jeopardizes freedom of speech. "The worst situation with freedom of speech is not in Moscow or at NTV, it's in the regions where they really crush journalists, remove chiefs and sack editors," he stressed. As far as TV-6 goes, Dobrodeyev believes it will have "a new team, new people and different news." "Clearly, TV-6 shareholders are building a bridgehead, a bulwark, a belt of information defence."

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