Parfyonov, the director and anchorman of the political program Namedni
on NTV was fired late Tuesday evening, the channel's web-site reports.
The move comes just one day after Parfyonov aired an interview with the
widow of a former Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, violating
orders from the channel's management. Russian Special Forces had reportedly
ordered NTV's deputy director Alexander Gerasimov not to air the interview,
Russian media reported.
"The reason behind his dismissal was that Namedni has been taken
the air in connection with a contract violation on the part of Parfyonov:"
reads an official statement from NTV. According to the statement, Parfyonov
was responsible for upholding the television station's policy as dictated
Russia's leading journalists were quick to call the dismissal a
"landmark case" in censorship. "In the last four years,
always chosen the worst decision out of two," journalist Yelena Savina
the independent Newsru.com site. "The Kremlin never trusted Parfyonov.
as newsmen, understand that this serious attack is a warning for us."
The cause of the scandal was a five-minute report on the trial of two
Russian special agents in Qatar on charges of killing former Chechen head
Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, which included a short, exclusive interview with
wife, Malika. After being aired east of the Ural Mountains in Russia,
report was taken off the air, and not broadcast in European Russia.
In an earlier statement to the Kommersant daily, Parfyonov said that
the station's general director Alexander Gerasimov was told by Russian
special agents to take the report off the air.
Last year NTV's president Nikolai Senkevich cancelled a piece on
Yelena Tregubova, a former Kremlin pool journalist who had written a
sensational tell-all memoir "Tales of a Kremlin Digger". NTV
planned to air
the report on Namedni.
The president also found fault with the television station for
"showing the movements of commandos a few minutes before the raid
the Nord-Ost theater siege, the Kommersant newspaper reported. Putin went
to inquire: "Why was this kind of thing done? To boost ratings and
capitalization, and, in the final analysis, to make money. But not at
price! Not with the blood of our citizens! If, of course, the people who
this consider [those who died] to be their own."
NTV was one of Russia's last privately-owned television networks until
2000, when it was taken over in a debt scandal by the state-owned company
Gazprom. The network's journalists protested what they called a seizure,
many of them - such as Parfyonov - remained with the network under the
44-year-old Parfyonov worked at NTV from 1993. In 1997 he became a
member of the channel's board and the general producer.
In 2001, as the Media-Most company owned by billionaire Vladimir
Gusinsky battled with the state-owned Gazprom corporation over NTV's
ownership, Parfyonov quitted the channel and published an open letter
head Yevgeniy Kiselev accusing the latter of biased information policy
inflaming hatred among the employees.
After Gazprom finally gained control over NTV Parfyonov returned to
the channel and again became a member of the governing board.
the original at
Freedom of Speech
and Media Law in Russia