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    RUSSIA'S DEFENCE MINISTER DECORATES LEADING MEDIA OUTLETS' BOSSES-NOVOSTI, TOO

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 20, RIA NOVOSTI - Russia is celebrating Army Day Monday next, February 23. Sergei Ivanov, federal Defence Minister, awarded medals, Defence Ministry 200th Establishment Anniversary, to managers of Russia's leading media outlets on the occasion.

    Notable among the laureates are Svetlana Mironyuk, RIA Novosti Board President; Mikhail Komissar, Interfax news agency Director General; Vitali Ignatenko, Director General of the ITAR-TASS news agency; Nikolai Yefimov, Editor-in-Chief, Krasnaya Zvezda the Russian Armed Forces daily; Andrei Bystritsky, President, Mayak government radio company; Armen Oganesyan, President, Russian Voice radio company; and, last but not least, Konstantin Ernst, Director General, Channel One television company.

    Sergei Ivanov addressed the decoration gala on the ministerial premises. "Journalism is among essential tools of government policies as it informs the public about the daily routine of the Armed Forces and related organisations," he said.

    Periodicals of a federal scope carried an approximate 12,500 contributions on military topics last year, and principal television companies cast more that six thousand footages. Many media reports criticised the Armed Forces. "I think that was normal," remarked the minister. However, the number of such materials shrank by a third, as against the preceding year, say Defence Ministry statistics.

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