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MOSCOW, December 27 (Itar-Tass) — The proposal of Russian State Duma deputies to forbid foreign nationals to work at Russian television channels is “strange & absurd. Vladimir Pozner has a citizenship of three countries: Russia, the United States and Francenge and absurd”, Anatoly Lysenko, the director general of Public Television, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
"This is a very strange initiative. This proposal has absolutely no sense. I hope that other deputies are not going to vote for it,” he said.
"They were certainly offended by (Vladimir) Pozner’s words and decided to punish him. But they should be wiser and more tactful,” Lysenko said in conclusion.
For his part, Pavel Gusev, the chief editor of the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, a member of the Russian Public Chamber and chairman of the Moscow Union of Journalists, said on Thursday that banning Russian citizens, who also have a citizenship of a foreign country, from television would be a violation of human rights.
"It’s inadmissible for deputies to issues threats and vindictive remarks to journalists. Unfortunately, our deputies forget that Article 29 of the Russian Constitution gives right to every citizen to produce and distribute information freely. Banning Russian nationals from appearing on television on grounds that they have a citizenship of foreign country alongside with the Russian one is a violation of human rights,” Gusev told Itar-Tass, commenting on the State Duma’s reaction to the recent remarks made by TV host Vladimir Pozner.
“Pozner is a citizen of Russia. A journalist like any other Russian national has a full right to express his views,” Gusev went on to say.
"It’s embarrassing that our deputies start inventing amendments to the law on media in response to any sneeze or word made or said by a journalist. It’s simply impossible to start a campaign against journalists and the media,” Gusev said.
Earlier on Thursday, deputies of all the four Duma factions reacted negatively to the recent remarks of well-known TV host Vladimir Pozner who criticized the introduction of a ban on adoptions of Russian children by American parents in retaliation to the Magnitsky Act. Andrei Lugovoy (the LDPR), Mikhail Starshinov (the United Russia Party), Oleg Denisenko (the Communist Party) and Igor Zotov (A Just Russia Party) wrote a letter to Vladimir Pozner in which they warned the journalist of their intention to submit a bill forbidding foreigners and people with dual citizenship whose public statements discredit Russia and its state bodies, to work at federal television channels.
"In one of your recent programs you said that deputies of the Russian State Duma were making a laughing stock of the country. You called the country’s highest legislative body a “silly baggage”, pretending that it was a slip of the tongue. But the content and tonality of your remarks make us doubt the sincerity of your explanations,” the deputies emphasized in their letter.
"It’s time to consider whether it’s expedient to allow foreign nationals whose remarks ad actions discredit Russia and its bodies of state power work at federal television channels in which the state holds a stake or which receive state support. We are going to submit a relevant bill to the State Duma soon,” the letter’s authors said.
They recalled that Vladimir Pozner has a citizenship of three countries: Russia, the United States and France.