Moskow: Russian TV presenter at center of censorship accusations quits channel

A Russian TV presenter who accused her channel of barring her from anchoring her trademark analytical news show for political reasons has resigned, the Ren-TV network said today.

Olga Romanova, the star host of the news show "24," said that security guards had prevented her from entering the studio late last month in what was widely seen as a government attempt to silence a television station known for liberal news coverage.

The Ekho Moskvy radio station, now seen as a lone independent voice among Russia's broadcasters, has hired the journalist to host two weekly shows, the Interfax news agency quoted its editor, Alexei Venediktov, as saying.

Two Russian companies sympathetic to the Kremlin now own 70 percent of the Moscow-based REN-TV station, which used to be controlled by state electricity monopoly Unified Energy Systems, headed by liberal opposition politician Anatoly Chubais.

German media company Bertelsmann AG holds the remaining 30 percent, the AP reports. Under President Vladimir Putin, major Russian television stations are now almost all directly or indirectly controlled by the government following the 2001 takeover of the NTV network by the state-run natural gas monopoly Gazprom. P.L.

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