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Monday, March 31, 2008

Another Original LR Translation: Good Morning, Vladimir Vladimiriovich! -- by our Original Translator

Good Morning, Vladimir Vladimirovich!

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

March 28, 2008

[TN: Russians don’t say “Mr. Putin.” Instead, they refer to a person by his full first and middle name when they want to show respect. “Vladimir Vladimirovich” is the full first and middle name of Russian “president” Vladmir Putin, and also of Vladimir Pozner, TV talk-show host, pictured below]

Vladimir Pozner has disclosed to the world a terrible secret: on March 27, during a roundtable discussion on “moral and ethical issues in Russian television, and possible amendments to the Law on Mass Media”, he announced that there is no freedom of speech in the Russian mass media. The distinguished television alum further insisted that “our Law on Mass Media is failing in the most important respect: I can confirm that in our television programming, and not only our television programming, there is no freedom of speech.” For example, according to Pozner, during recent parliamentary and presidential elections “there were subjects that were completely off-limits: things that could not be talked about, things that could not be shown, people who could not be invited to speak on air.” Pozner supported the president of the National Association of Television Broadcasters (NAT) Eduard Sagalaev, who said in particular, “In television we have very little of the truth and a great deal of vulgarity.” “In Russia,” he went on to say, “an information policy has been established that de facto does not allow free discussions, and de facto does not allow live broadcasts. And I don’t know what to do about that.”

Sagalaev’s final phrase was especially pathetic - one had to think, What’s not to know? Just tell the truth, get rid of the vulgarities - and you’ll have free speech. These aren’t some kind of mythical figures, crankishly going on and on, these are you yourselves - Vladimir Pozner is one of the leading television journalists in the country. One should note that this is not the first time that Pozner has made such pronouncements. Once, after a viewing of the George Clooney film “Good Night and Good Luck”, he also bemoaned the cheapness and groveling nature of our television. Even on his Echo of Moscow “Vremena” radio program, he has said anyone could call in, “even Kasparov”. And not long ago he reassured us that there was no “black list” or political censorship in Russian television - there were just certain people who could not be invited to speak on the air. In reality, no matter what Pozner says about the “morals and ethics in Russian television”, nothing will change, and everyone knows it: neither television as a whole, nor the programs directed by Pozner himself. But here the question arises: Why all this talk and worry if you have no intention of doing anything about it? Could it be your bad conscience?

Truthfully, this is reminiscent of nothing so much as an alcoholic going on and on about the evils of drink.


Igor Yakovlenko, Russian Journalists Union:

That Russia has lost over the last eight years the modicum of freedom of speech it enjoyed in the 1990s has become common knowledge and an established fact. The fact that Pozner has talked about this publicly is now a part of his personal biography. A good part.

The fact that Pozner is not doing anything in his own broadcasts to improve freedom of speech is due to the fact that Pozner is not the owner of the station where he works. The owner is the Kremlin, as is the case with all our other nationwide television stations as well - all are completely controlled by the government. Hence, Pozner is forced to play by the rules dictated to him by the owner - the Kremlin. If Pozner doesn’t abide by these rules, he will quickly disappear from the air, and he knows it perfectly well. Now a different question: Can one remain a journalist, while working on nationwide television? The answer most probably is “No”. Pozner tries, and sometimes succeeds. But lately, not much.


Anonymous said...

Sure Posner doesn't like Russian freedom of speech! His ideal is the country where 25% approval rate for its President doesn't preclude him from sending more troops to death. The V.P., asked by a journalist if public opinion is important in making such decision makings said, "So?" Prompted to elaborate he explained that the fluctuations in public opinion are ignored by the Administration.
And, of course, there is a matter of "embedded" reporters in Iraq. Woopy Goldberg recently said on The View that for four out of five years of war they, the reporters, were not allowed to discuss the Iraq War at all. The "Politically incorrect" was axed. The CBS lost Dan Rather, and I suggest Mr. Posner comes back here and tests the American freedom. I don't think he will last a day! But he still, with all his venomous rantings, is having his own program on the state run TV station. Surprising, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

That story I saw on "60 Minutes" about torture at Guantenemo was produced by.... a Russian TV channel?

Concerned Citizen said...

Anonymous: Posner was a propagandist for the Soviet Union and is still an active apologist for Russian authoritarianism, especially as it relates to free speech. In his most recent interview on Echo of Moscow, he repeatedly invoked Oliver Wendell Holme's comparison of someone yelling "fire" in a crowded theater to justify repression of liberal views in Russia. Pozner's father was also a spy for the Soviet Union, a fact for which he has shown no embarassment whatsoever. I for one would not welcome his immigration to the U.S., and I think the YeZh article above makes it pretty plain that genuine pro-democracy advocates in Russia do not welcome him in their midst either.

What Pozner is really trying to do is stake out a position at the outer liberal edge of what is allowed on state-run TV, because he knows it will be good for his ratings and might get some people to start watching Russian TV again who had long ago given up on it. He does not, however, want any competition from real liberal commentators. Hence, he is as wedded to the system of censorship as the other Vladimir Vladimirovich, and will never be an advocate of abandoning it altogether.

As for your idiotic ramblings about the war in Iraq, U.S. presidential approval ratings and Whoopi Goldberg, I think even the most casual observer can see they are nothing but the pathetic "so's your old man" reaction most Russians have given for centuries to any kind criticism from the West -- and certainly not worthy of any direct response.