Russia - Media

In 1998, Russia had about 30 million main telephone lines, with an additional 2.5 million mobile cellular phones reported in 2000. The telephone system has improved significantly throughout the 1990s. As of 1999, over 1,000 companies were licensed to offer telecommunications services. Some 60 regional capitals had modern digital infrastructures, but services in rural areas remained outdated and inadequate.

Broadcasting is overseen by All-Russian State Television and Radio (Ostankino). In 1998, there were 420 AM and 447 FM radio broadcast stations and over 7,000 television stations. Independent and semi-independent television and radio stations continue to grow in number. In 2000, there were 418 radios and 421 television sets for every 1,000 people. In the same year, there were about 43 personal computers in use for every 1,000 people, with 35 Internet service providers serving 9.2 million users.

In 2002, Russia's major newspapers, all published in Moscow, were: Moskovski Komsomolets ( Moscow Communist Youth , 2,035,049); Nezarisimaya Gazeta (NA); Trud ( Labor , 1,582,500); and Rossiiskaya Gazeta (439,700).

The constitution provides for freedom of the press and mass information, and the government is said at present to respect these provisions. However, the law contains provisions which give broad interpretive authority to government at all levels for the enforcement of secrecy of sensitive information. Russians are enjoying a more free media than at any time in recent history.

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