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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NTV.ru Still Free of Gazprom's Control

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NTV.ru — a separate company from the television station recently taken over by Gazprom — was still operating independently Tuesday but had begun to come under pressure.

Boris Jordan, the Gazprom-appointed general director of NTV, lashed out at the site during a meeting with NTV employees Tuesday and said NTV would consider creating its own rival web site, NTV.ru reported.

Jordan said what was going on at NTV.ru "was discrediting the site itself and us as a television company. We will have nothing to do with them, they are behaving incorrectly," NTV.ru said.

The site's lead story Tuesday was the closing down of NTV's sister newspaper, Segodnya. Flashing on the screen were the words: "NTV has been seized. NTV.ru is free."

NTV.ru's popularity has almost doubled since April 3, the day Gazprom appointed new management, according to Rambler's Internet statistics.

Yelena Bruni, editor of the site, responded to Jordan's comments critically. "Censure of a media resource for reporting all sides of the story can only come from a company that has begun to censor," she said in a telephone interview.

Bruni stressed NTV.ru's objectivity in the battle between Jordan and ousted general director Yevgeny Kiselyov. "As written on our web site, news is our profession. We are not an analytical site, thus we cannot say whom we support."

Most of NTV.ru's content is created by its own team of journalists. It also has access to programs broadcast on THT by journalists who left NTV with Kiselyov, and Bruni said the site carried Kiselyov's "Itogi" program on THT because "our audience is interested."

NTV.ru had a close working relationship with specific NTV journalists, all of whom are among those who left the station over the weekend. They include Ashot Nasibov, Viktor Shenderovich and Svetlana Sorokina, who provided information unavailable on the TV channel.

Bruni said NTV.ru would be willing to cooperate with the new NTV team as well. Judging by Jordan's reported comments, though, this appeared unlikely.

NTV.ru had an agreement allowing it to use NTV materials, and Bruni estimated it used to get up to 25 percent of its content from NTV.

Until Monday night, the NTV.ru team had worked near the television station in a building at 12 Ulitsa Korolyova. Fearing Gazprom security would not recognize their journalistic independence from NTV, Bruni said, they moved to the offices of NTV.ru's parent company, NTV-Portal.com.

NTV-Portal.com, which has more than a dozen Internet sites, is part of Media-MOST.

Jordan told his journalists that it was possible Gazprom could take control of NTV.ru if Media-MOST failed to pay back a Gazprom-guaranteed loan due in July, the web site reported.

"But I think there is no sense in waiting, and one of the first tasks that we will probably consider is creating our own NTV site," Jordan was quoted as saying. His spokesman, reached by phone Tuesday, could not comment on Jordan's plans.

Yevgeny Roitman, acting general director of NTV Portal.com, said Media-MOST has only indirect ownership of his company and it would be legally complicated for Gazprom to take it over.