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Russian Journalist Calls On Colleagues 'To Be Professionals'

Stanislav Kucher (file photo)
Stanislav Kucher (file photo)
MOSCOW -- A prominent Russian journalist has called on journalists working for the state-run media to be "professionals" after they failed to cover recent demonstrations against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

In a statement, Stanislav Kucher of Kommersant FM radio slammed those journalists for "keeping mum" about the events on Moscow's Triumph Square on December 6 in which thousands of people protested alleged fraud in the December 4 parliamentary elections and shouted anti-Putin slogans.

The demonstration was not sanctioned by Moscow authorities, although thousands of supporters of the ruling United Russia party were given official permission to gather on the square. Police arrested some 600 protesters and opposition politicians Eduard Limonov, Sergei Mitrokhin, and Boris Nemtsov, among others.

State-run television and radio failed to cover the protests or the arrests.

Kucher told RFE/RL that the goal of his statement -- which was published on the Kommersant website (read in Russian here) -- is to help five, 10, or 20 colleagues working for state media outlets "to wake up and start doing their jobs professionally."

"This is not about politics or something; this is about professionalism, that is all," he said. "I personally know some colleagues working in state television companies who are capable of simply saying 'no' at the editorial meeting and start doing something different than they have been instructed to do."

Kucher said many journalists were only working for state media because they listen to their bosses and do as they are told, a condition that they accept.

But he added that now was a time for "big changes" and people could and should change their practices.

Kucher added that he had received numerous phone calls from various journalists who have made very different comments regarding his statement. But he said the majority who called said that they support his call.

Read more in Russian here

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