ST. PDETERSBURG, April 28. /TASS/. Free press makes a tangible contribution to strengthening the state, while without it the protest potential will be growing, President Vladimir Putin said at a media forum of the All-Russia Popular Front on Tuesday.
"As long as we have the kind of personalities that have gathered here, we can be certain that despite any problems, hurdles and obstructions there are people who decently serve their nation, perform their duty and make a tangible contribution to strengthening our statehood," Putin told the forum.
The president believes that "without that, the protest potential will be growing and erupting in some very unacceptable form."
"Your job is to ensure that the problems that exist everywhere in our country should be resolved in a civilized fashion," Putin said, promising that he was entirely on journalists’ side in this endeavor.
He was speaking in reply to a statement by a regional journalist who complained many federal and local officials representing law enforcement agencies ignored mass media queries. The journalist mentioned specific names and positions of some officials.
"I would like to thank you for doing your job right," Putin replied. "That’s precisely the way to go about this business. As I listened to you I thought: who will dare say we don’t have free media?" he added with a smile.
Putin stressed the support system should apply both to state and private media.
Otherwise, it turns out that "everything is all right from the purely formal point of view but in actual fact this mocks the principle," Putin said at a media forum of the All-Russian Popular Front in St. Petersburg.
"If we proceed from formal positions, the state pays its structures but in general society is undoubtedly interested in the development of the media’s independent segment," Putin said.
Russia needs "to develop a system of support that can apply to all," Putin said.
Russia's president has pointed to the indecent practice of "supporting mass media" some official resort to to prevent negative publications in the mass media.
"In the context of a complicated economic situation it is probably one of the most spread forms of supporting the press, but an absolutely indecent one and harmful for the mass media themselves and society in general," Putin said.
According to Putin, audience responds negatively if there is too much TV advertising.
"The question is not to overdrive with advertising, so that printed editions are not purely advertising. They should primarily communicate some information useful for the society and discharge the function of goods and services on a second-priority basis," the president said. The same relates to the electronic mass media, Putin added.
"If you go over the top or we go over the top, people will not watch merely and the sense of all these electronic mass media, including the regional ones, will be completely lost," the president said. Vladimir Putin said he understands this problem and is regularly dealing with it at the federal level, with respect to major mass media and channels. The president urged to hold on and to reduce production costs instead of increasing the advertising time. It is probably possible to increase the commercial airtime but one should not forget about medical restrictions, Putin said.
The president also noted that he considers necessary to preserve printed media, particularly for older generation.
"No doubt I feel like preserving printed media outlets as it’s difficult for them to compete with Internet and e-media. It’s particularly important for people of older generation as they use them by tradition," President said Tuesday, adding that "it’s a pleasure in itself to handle newspapers and magazines."