Statement by the Congress of Intelligentsia: "Freedom of speech is for everyone"

posted 17 Jul 2014, 06:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Jul 2014, 06:39 ]
11 July 2014

Source: (info
Differences of opinion about events happening in our country have caused a split to take place in our society. While the majority of the population supports the government's actions, not everyone does, and many of those in disagreement are people whose opinion particularly matters.

State television channels are paid for with taxpayers' money. All of us contribute. These channels should present a range of opinions about what is going on in our country. They should not be the government's private property, its mouthpiece.

Mass media which explain events in a one-sided, biased way dumb down the population and distort the very essence of a democracy.

An infamous, tragic example of how mass media can be used to help manipulate the public occurred in the 1930s. A crowd of 40 000 people, of whom a significant proportion were students at Humboldt University, took part in a mass "Action against the un-German spirit" and burnt books. This proved to be a prologue to the Second World War.

There is an urgent need for the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) to produce a programme which gives thinking people the chance to discuss issues openly in front of a television audience of many millions of viewers.

The so-called public television channel (OTR) which was set up [in 2013] with state funding fulfils a purely decorative function. It has not lived up to the hopes placed in it.

Instead, it is worth remembering that VGTRK was created more than 20 years ago and succeeded in overcoming divisions in the country during volatile times. It is clearly necessary for television to fulfil this function again. We have the right to ask the State to subsidise a programme of this sort which would air a whole range of views. There are plenty of highly qualified people around who could get involved.

Andrei Lipsky, Ludmila Alexeeva, Liya Akhedzhakova, Andrei Makarevich, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Irina Prokhorova, Lev Ponomarev, Alexei Simonov, Svetlana Gannushkina, Valery Borshchev, Andrei Smirnov, Victor Shenderovich, Andrei Piontkovsky, Natalya Fateeva, Tatiana Lazareva, Vladimir Mirzoyev, Alexander Belavin, Leonid Nikitinsky, Andrei Zubov, Leonid Gozman, Alexei Yablokov, Sergei Kovalev, Mark Urnov, Boris Dubin, Vladimir Kara-Murza senior, Yevgeny Tsymbal, Alexander Ryklin, Igor Irtenyev, Igor Yakovenko, Marietta Chudakova, Konstantin Azadovsky, Lev Gudkov, Elena Movchan, Grigory Amnuel, Leonid Chubarov, Igor Glek, Vladimir Volkov, Ashraf Fattakhov, Nikolai Prokudin, Natalya Nikolskaya, Elena Grishina, Svetlana Ezerskaya, Anatoly Vershik, Valentin Zhuravel, Elena Raskina, Marina Gromova, Yevgeny Kalakin, Irina Bogantseva, Alexander Obolonsky, Valery Kombarov, Maria Dmitrieva, Arkady Kuznetsov, Vladimir Rikhter, Vladimir Raskin, Vladimir Krzhevov, Stanislav Shipunov, Andrei Zbarsky, Mikhail Lavrenov, Ernst Chorny, Sergei Karamov, Elena Boeva, Elena Raskina, Boris Sokolov, Irina Sitkova, Elena Bukvaryova, Nina Dymshits, Alexei Vasiliev, Victor Vasiliev, Dennis Gutsko, Nina Katerli, Ekaterina Prigoreva, Alla Nazimova, Victor Sheinis, Irina Levinskaya, Greta Vyborna, Grigory Pasko, Lev Timofeev, Petr Obraztsov, Veronika Dolina, Igor Yarkevich, Olga Timofeeva, Sergei Gandlevsky, Konstantin Kedrov, Elena Katsyuba, Oleg Klebnikov, Marina Boroditskaya, Margarita Khemlin, Varbvan Varzhapetyan, Elena Chizhova, Victor Esipov, E. Logvinskaya, Marina Ashikhmina, Valery Mastyuk, Tatiana Borozheikina, Efim Khazanov, Marina Davydova, Yury Vdovin, Olga Maxakova, Grigory Kruzhkov, Ekaterina Gaidamachuk, Tatiana Romanenko, Anna Dadeko, Alexander Filippenko, Marina Ishimbaeva, Max Armai, Natalya Ivanova.

This statement was published in Novaya gazeta.

Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts