Mass Media

Mass Media in Russia

Russia has close to ninety officially registered television companies, 25,000 newspapers, over 1,500 radio programmes and 400 news agencies—over half of them independent, the rest entitled to full or partial government financing.

The Mass Media Act, passed in December 1991, regulates their activities.

Judging by opinion polls, 82 per cent of the Russian public see television as the principal information source, and prefer it to the press. Radio comes next with 24 per cent.

The total number of subscriptions to publications exceeded 61~5 million in 1994, with newspapers accounting for 43.8 million. 78 per cent of Russians are regular readers of local periodicals whose total circulation accounts for 25.2 million copies, while that of national papers is 18.1 million copies.

The weekly Argumenty i Fakty leads the national press, with 36 per cent of the polled readership, and is the most popular among people with college and university degrees and those in managerial occupations. Moskovsky Komsomolets, a Moscow daily, is second in popularity, with a huge number of subscribers and sells like hotcakes on the newsstands. The youth weekly AIDS-lnfo and the daily Trud (Labour), a favourite with trade union bosses and blue collar workers, come after these two.

The respectable daily Izvestia (News) is a pronounced preference in cultural, research and business circles, 35 out of a hundred political activist pollees are also its regular readers. Of the Russian dailies, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Commersant Daily, Moskovsky Komsomolets, Rossiiskaya Gazeta and Pravda are also popular among political leaders, as are the weeklies Finansovaya Gazeta and Moscow News.

Opinion polls highlight the most popular TV programmes-"Wonderfield Quiz," "Topic," with its social and political charge, news programmes, and foreign serials.

The Mir (World) interstate television and radio company, established in the middle of 1992, is jointly sponsored by Russia, Armenia, Tajikistan, BelaNs, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and some other Commonwealth countries.

Mayak (Beam), a round-the-clock radio station, which broadcasts news every thirty minutes, is most popular. Private radio stations—Europe Plus, Radio 101, M Radio, Moscow Echo, Radio Nadezhda (Hope), Nostalgie and others also have huge audience. They broadcast information, the analysis of the most important events and music. The new radio station Auto-Radio telling the audience about the situation in the Moscow traffic and about everything connected with cars has rapidly gained popularity.

ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti, the two national news agencies, are followed by private and joint-stock agencies: Interfax, Postfactum, and IMA-PRESS.