Russia journalists to mark professional holiday

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MOSCOW. January 13. KAZINFORM Russian journalists on Thursday will mark their professional holiday - Day of the Russian Press. This date is timed to the release in 1703 of the first Russian newspaper - the Vedomosti (of Peter the Great). The decision to shift the holiday date was adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation in 1991 on the initiative of the journalists themselves. Previously, it was celebrated on the birthday of the newspaper Pravda - on May 5. Kazinform refers to Itar-Tass.

The first national periodical was published under the name "Gazette about the military and new affairs worthy of knowledge and memory that occurred in the Moscow State and other neighbouring countries." The newspaper's circulation was only 1,000 copies. On January 1, 1870 "by supreme order" it was allowed "to arrange in the form of experience the subscription to periodicals - both Russian and foreign - at post offices." In Russia, it was the first decree on subscription to periodicals. By 1914, over 3,000 periodicals were published in Russia.

The press service of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation (Rospechat) told Itar-Tass that more than 90,000 mass media are currently registered in Russia, including about 70,000 printed and about 17,000 electronic media. Last year, the number of registered printed media was 8 percent higher than in 2009, and in comparison with 2005 the number increased by 34 percent. "Moreover, the number of regional media registered in 2010 more than two times exceeded the number of nationwide media," the press-service noted. "In the previous year, this difference was not so great. So, in 2005 the number of regional media outlets exceeded the number of nationwide media by only 11 percent, in 2006 - by 16.5 percent, and in 2009 - already by 42 percent."

The Union of Journalists of Moscow congratulated the colleagues on Day of the Russian Press. "The role of the press, radio and television in public life is growing," the professional union noted. "In the present conditions the printed and spoken word, television image, the Internet can in the shortest time reach the most remote areas, enter any social environment." The union also wished all the "journalists, all those involved in this honourable and difficult profession, objectivity in reporting events, professional capacity, the real journalistic passion, courage and perseverance, and new creative ideas."

The Union of Journalists also drew attention to the fact that the issue of protection of media representatives from persecution for their professional activities is causing serious concern today. "Because the profession of journalist in Russia, despite its popularity, remains one of the most dangerous," the Union believes. "Our colleagues are threatened, killed, taken hostage, and physically assaulted." According to the Committee for the Protection of freedom of speech and the rights of journalists, over the past 15 years, more than 300 journalists have been killed in Russia, most of the crimes are still unsolved.

According to the RF government website, the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications is a federal body of executive authority responsible for providing state services and managing state property. It also implements legal regulation in the press, media, and mass communications sphere, including shared-use computer networks of the electronic media, publishing and printing sectors. Kazinform cites Itar-Tass. See www.itar-tass.com for full version.

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