Russian TV could be due for a clean up as United Russia cries out against the polluting effects of impure images across our screens. Moral evangelists want to pull state funding on a range of popular daytime money spinners across popular channels.
The social-conservative club of Russia’s political powerhouse discussed the problem of upholding decency in the modern media on Friday, principally on television. The group wants to use money as a lever on channels which receive federal or state funds, to stop them broadcasting crime programmes or erotic material before 11.00pm.
“The Moscow budget subsidises channels 1 and 2,” Moscow Duma deputy Lyudmila Stebenkova told gzt.ru. “I know that Gazprom-Media pay NTV and TNT.” She did not mention Luzhkov-backed TVTs, the only channel which has recently shown a programme supporting the embattled mayor. “We believe that the main channels, which receive public money, must promote decency and not chase ratings, she said.
“I don’t think it will have a serious effect upon coverage,” CrossTalk presenter and political commentator at Russia Today told The Moscow News. “But I think it will affect people’s viewing patterns on the web.”
And there is less for United Russia to complain about now, “If you compare Russian TV today to even seven years ago it was far more violent…you could come across hard pornography on the screens.” It is still a lot more explicit than western media, he says, with western media being “extremely tame in comparison.”
The party named some shows in particular as falling short of the moral mark, TNT’s Big Brother clone “Dom 2” and “Comedy Club”, Channel 1’s gritty youth drama “Shkola”, and TNT’s “Ochnaya Stavka”, “Chrezvychainoe Proisshestvie”, “Osobono Opasen”, “Programma Maximum” and “Russkie Sensatsy”.
Broadcasts of sexual promiscuity, deviant behaviour, and domestic or street violence would be off-air during the day, GZT.ru reported. Anything that the party considers to be unsuitable for children they would show after the 11.00pm threshold.
TV “affects the minds of children, and then gives teenagers the idea of going out onto the street and…beating up passers by,” NGO activist Nikolai Smirnov of Za Slovom – Delo told gzt.ru. United Russia’s Leonid Goryainov said the state has to do something to avoid descent into “Sodom and Gomorrah.” He added that while TV is cleaning up its act the traditional faiths should preach the word of appropriate behaviour to their faithful.
One of the programmes, Shkola, has attracted the attention of no less a personage than the Patriarch himself: “There has been much criticism of the directors, of television. But in actual fact, this series showed us what is happening to our children and youth, albeit in a grotesque form,” he told RIA Novosti.
Tom Washington, The Moscow News