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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Itar-Tass Asks For Protection

Employees of Itar-Tass have asked President Boris Yeltsin to approve a restructuring of the news agency in order to protect it from becoming "a toy in the hands of the state", an official of Itar-Tass said Thursday.

"We don't want the Supreme Soviet to declare us their official agency", said Yury Sizov, an editor. "We want to be free to continue to give objective, independent information".

The step would create a new Itar-Tass agency owned 50 percent by the state and 50 percent by workers.

The step follows a move last week by Ostankino, the state television network, to reorganize along similar lines. The newspaper Izvestia also underwent a similar restructuring to help it fend off attempts by the parliament to take control of the paper.

The official statement referred to "conditions of political rivalry and the offensive launched on the freedom of speech by conservative forces". It concluded by saying, "The Itar-Tass labor collective is proclaiming its right to be a co-founder of the news agency".

Sizov said he had not yet received an answer from Yeltsin, but he felt the request was urgent enough to want it "yesterday".