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    Russia's TV broadcasting not limited by language - Culture Ministry

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    MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - After the launch of the English-language Russia Today TV-channel, Russia may be able to broadcast in other foreign languages, a senior official said Monday.

    "The English-language channel may only be a pilot project," said Leonid Nadirov, Russia's deputy minister of culture and mass communications. "We also do not have programs in Chinese, Pashto, and Turkish. I think the Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - also need programs in their native languages."

    Nadirov said the launch of the television channel, which is scheduled to happen by the end of the year, was a positive event that had long been in the pipeline. "We have seen that Russia is changing, and we want foreign audiences to know about these positive changes," he said.

    The foundation of Russia Today, which was established by RIA and will present a "Russian view" of the world, was announced in Moscow on June 7.

    "Unfortunately, at the level of the mass consciousness in the West, Russia is associated with three words: 'communism', 'snow' and 'poverty'," Svetlana Mironyuk, the general director of RIA Novosti, told journalists at the channel's presentation. "We would like to present a more complete picture of life in our country."

    A crew of 500 will ensure 24-hour broadcasting, while prominent TV journalist Margarita Simonyan will head the channel.

    "It will be the most independent channel - I promise," the 25-year-old Simonyan said. "It will represent as many opinions as there are in society."

    Russia Today will be an independent company, said Mikhail Seslavinsky, the head of the Federal Agency for the Press and Mass Communications.

    Seslavsinksy said the government intended to amend the 2005 federal budget to ensure financing for Russia Today. Besides, the channel will be funded through the Federal Agency for the Press and Mass Communications, with grants and revenues from advertising.

    The project has evoked the interest of other broadcasters, including CNN, ÂÂÑ and EuroNews, as well as printed and electronic media.

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