Press minister: developed but specific mass media system in Russia

Russia has formed a quite developed yet specific mass media system, said Russia's press minister Mikhail Lesin on Wednesday when speaking at the conference "Mass Media Industry: Direction of Reforms".

Today Russia has about 3,000 television companies and about 33,000 newspapers and magazines, and the mass media sector in the Internet is developing intensively, Lesin pointed out. "If two years ago we had only 18 registered Internet publications, by now we have issued more than 800 certificates to mass media working in the net," the minister continued.

Every large city with a population of more than 200-300 thousand people has as a rule 10-12 television stations and the same number of radio stations, as well as dozens of newspapers and magazines, Lesin said. "The population has no difficulty in accessing information as it is, though there still is a problem of distant districts and territories, which is caused by our specific geographic position," he admitted.

One of the most serious problems is "the correlation between the advertising market capacity and the number of existing mass media," the minister believes. He pointed out that "distribution of the advertising incomes should be based on equal and honest competition, while the legislation should contain clear formulae for investing money in new mass media." Without that it is impossible to turn mass media from the "information baton" into a fully capitalizable business, he added.

Lesin also stressed the importance of working out a new legislation. "The introduction of the notion of mass media owner seems extremely necessary," he believes. He is sure that "the positive consequences of the step are evident."

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