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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TV Leaders Urge State To Sell ORT

Leading television figures called for new legislation on broadcasting Thursday and accused the government of failing to live up to its commitments to the electronic media.

Speaking after a meeting of Russia's television lobby, officials of the National Association of Television Broadcasters, or NAT, said the government was not paying enough attention to state television and suggested that it relinquish its shares in ORT Russian Public Television.

"The government should decide what to do," said Valentin Lazutkin, head of the Federal Service of Television and Radio Broadcasting. "It should keep one state structure and support it but it is necessary to privatize the other one under an open tender."

The government currently owns a 51 percent stake in ORT and 100 percent of RTR Russian Television. But according to representatives of the two companies, ORT has not received any government funding this year, while RTR has been given only 30 percent of the money allocated by the 1996 budget.

"We have to define the role that state television should play in Russia," said Eduard Sagalayev, head of RTR and president of NAT. "It would be more honest to admit that the state does not have enough money and to put shares into private hands while ensuring financing for successful institutions."