Russia to launch commercial-free public TV

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree to establish a commercial-free, public television broadcast service that will be launched on January 1 next year.

Medvedev had 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 on Tuesday.

"Therefore, Russia will 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.

The Russian government will create the autonomous non-commercial organisation, which will act as the channel's founder, board of editors and broadcaster, the Kremlin said.

The organisation's chief, who will also be the channel's editor-in-chef, will be appointed by the president.

Medvedev said 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 law, published on the Kremlin website, also envisages "the possibility of the organisation'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 defence ministry, Medvedev said.

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