Entertainment

Russia Today to be 24-hour, English TV station

Russian journalists have unveiled plans for Russia Today, a 24-hour, English-language satellite TV station that aims to become the Russia's version of the BBC.

Russian journalists have unveiled plans for Russia Today, a 24-hour, English-language satellite TV station that aims to become Russia's version of the BBC.

"It will be a perspective on the world from Russia," Margarita Simonyan, Russia Today's editor-in-chief and former Kremlin reporter, told a news conference Tuesday.

"We do not want to change the professional format developed by such TV channels as the BBC, CNN and Euronews. We want to reflect Russia's opinion of the world and to make Russia clearer for understanding," she said.

According to Simonyan, the station was born out of the desire to present an "unbiased" portrait of Russia.

"Many foreigners are surprised to see that Russia is different from what they see in media reports. We will try to present a more balanced picture."

Sponsored by the state-funded RIA Novosti news agency, the new channel is scheduled to air by the end of 2005. Organizers said that Russia Today, which will cover international as well as Russian news, will employee as many as 500 people and have a budget of about $30 million US. It will broadcast to Europe, North America and Asia.

"We will try to employ mostly Russians but there will be difficulties, as very few professionals in Russia can work on air in English. We will also hire foreigners," Simonyan said.

The 25-year-old former TV reporter also responded to reservations about her age.

"My first question was: do you know how old I am? But, honestly, I'm not afraid, it will be interesting to create a new television [channel] seeking to become No. 1," she said.

Russia Today will be funded by grants, advertising revenues and the country's Federal Agency for the Press and Mass Communications.

now