Gorbachev calls for independent Russian TV
Friday, April 13th, 2007

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday he wanted to create an independent television channel to encourage democracy and press freedom, a news agency reported. ”I think there is a problem with freedom of the press,” he said, according to Ria Novosti news agency. “The press’s attention has been diverted from important problems.”

Speaking at a Russian-German forum in Kaliningrad, Gorbachev said he and others had proposed creating an independent television station. ”Without democracy and without freedom of the press, citizens will not be able to understand all that is happening with the country,” he said.

Gorbachev has owned shares in Novaja Gazeta, the newspaper for which slain investigative journalist and government critic Anna Politkovskaya worked. Politkovskaya was shot in her apartment building in an execution-style killing last October that Gorbachev called a “political homicide.” Her murder raised fears about freedom of the press in Russia, where at least 42 journalists have been killed since the Soviet collapse in 1991, and resulted in heavy criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

(Source: AFP)