Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday he had signed a decree to establish a commercial-free, public television broadcast service that will be launched on January 1, 2013.
Medvedev called for the creation of a public TV service in 2011.
“I would like to inform you that today I’ve signed a law to create public TV and it will go on air starting from January 1, 2013,” he said at the fourth extended meeting in the Open government format.
"Therefore, Russia will de-jure receive a new nationwide, universal and publicly-accessible TV. I expect the channel to be of interest, at least to those who are interested in public life, because tastes differ and everyone has various expectation of TV content. But to audience of that type, a demanding audience, this channel would be of interest, I hope,” Medvedev said.
To his end, the Russian government will create the autonomous non-commercial organization, which will act as the channel’s founder, board of editors and broadcaster, the Kremlin said. The organization’s chief, who will also be the channel’s editor-in-chef, will be appointed by the president.
Medvedev said that the public broadcaster will be financed in its early stages with a government loan.
“We will have to somehow launch the mechanism of financing the public TV. In the beginning, the state, apparently, will have to render some assistance in this situation via a loan scheme, but afterwards this loan should be replaced by an endowment fund… which will help this TV to stay afloat without resorting to state funding,” Medvedev said.
The Kremlin said in a statement the endowment fund to finance the channel will be replenished in fundraising campaigns, if required.
“The main source of the organization’s financing will be the profit from the endowment capital. To this end, an initial endowment capital of at least 3 million rubles will be formed, and will be further replenished in fundraising campaigns, announced by the organization’s supervising council,” the Kremlin said on its website.
The law, published on the Kremlin website, also envisages “the possibility of the organization’s initial financing by budget allocations and bank loans.”
The channel might be created with the use of resources of the Zvezda TV network run by the Defense Ministry, Medvedev said.
“Such an opportunity exists, and, maybe, it is one of the easiest,” he said.
The Russian leader also said the channel will be included in the package of free digital TV channels available all across Russia. So far, the list includes eight channels.