Russian Foreign Ministry Views Us State Department Statements Regarding Tv-6 As Manifestation Of A Double Standard Approach Towards Media Freedom In Russia

The official statement of the Russian Department of information and press received on Monday by RIA Novosti declares that the Russian Foreign Ministry considers US State Department statements regarding TV-6 (a Russian TV channel which recently became the centre of a scandal) as a manifestation of a double standard approach towards the issue of mass media freedom in Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry indicated with regret that very often mass media and political circles of countries which considered themselves as democracy standards would lay mutually excluding claims to Russia. According to the Foreign Ministry's statement, "on the one hand, they urge to strengthen democratic foundations of the Russian society and to ensure independence of judicial authority by deed and not by word. On the other hand, they demand to influence adoption of this or that court ruling related to performance of concrete legal entities or natural persons. In reality they exert pressure on the judicial authority and that is impermissible". The Russian Foreign Ministry explains that the TV-6 issue lies in a purely legal area and the situation around the channel represents, first of all, an economic dispute between its shareholders. The statement of the Department of information and press explains that "executive power bodies have to implement a court ruling and to undertake every subsequent measure stipulated by legislation". On 11 January the Board of the Higher Arbitration Court of Russia upheld the ruling to liquidate the "Moscow Independent Broadcasting Corporation" closed joint-stock company which broadcast on the TV-6 channel and which was majority-owned by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky who presently resided abroad. The Russian Foreign Ministry also reminded that TV-6 was not the only privately-owned TV channel in Russia as somebody was trying to picture it.

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