Russian communists bash state TV over alleged discrimination

MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian communists accused the country's primary state-run television channel Wednesday of mounting an "information blockade" on their activity.

Russia has been subject to criticism in the West for a perceived crackdown on media freedom since Vladimir Putin became president six years ago, and over how events are covered in the media.

"The time Channel 1 gave, for example, in March to cover Communist Party events is far less than on the Rossiya channel [the second state channel]," party leader Gennady Zyuganov said after a meeting with the channel's management.

He said that talks had lasted about one and a half hours, and that the channel's management had promised to deal with the problem.

But Channel 1's PR director, Igor Burenkov, denied any discrimination against the party.

"The Communist Party enjoys enough time on air and its leaders are frequent guests on the channel's programs," he said.

Burenkov said he had assured the party's leaders that Channel 1 reflected different opinions and commentators were unbiased on the events the channel covered.

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