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Russia: Yeltsin Devotes Radio Address To Mass Media

Moscow, 14 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin in a radio address today focused on the country's news media.

He says Russia has become used to freedom of speech. But he says the press, nevertheless, cannot be unrestricted. Yeltsin says in no way does he want journalists to distort or to gloss over the true state of affairs. But he says due consideration should also be given to the power of words.

Yeltsin says journalism has become one of the most dangerous professions, with journalists being threatened, killed and kidnapped. He says it is the state's duty to help those who run into trouble.

Turning to the problem of financing the media, Yeltsin acknowledges that the regional and national press are experiencing difficulties. He says, however, that he is confident the situation will improve.

In a brief mention of the cabinet reshuffle to be announced before next Wednesday, Yeltsin repeated that he intends to make radical changes so that the reform process can be carried out in what he calls a more energetic and consistent manner.

Yeltsin has directed Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to form a new government. The new line-up is expected to be announced before Yeltsin leaves for a summit with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Helsinki next Wednesday.