Home > Latest News > I don=?UTF-8?B?4oCZ?=t want to pretend I am impartial, says Armenian chief editor of RT

I don=?UTF-8?B?4oCZ?=t want to pretend I am impartial, says Armenian chief editor of RT

Since February 2013, the Russian NTV has been broadcasting the talk show Iron Ladies, which is run by the popular Georgian-Russian TV presenter, Tina Kandelaki, and the Russia Today editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan.
The Russian Lenta.ru has recently interviewed the ethnic Armenian editor, asking her about the TV show, particularly her conduct which hints partiality and bias.
Simonyan said she now feels sure that the Russian television has to take a more pro-American stance, with the anchor sticking to his or her own opinion instead of acting as a football commentator. She refrained from calling Russia Today a propaganda channel, despite the fact that it gets funding from the Russian State Budget. Simonyan said her channel seeks to develop an alternative agenda in the United States.
“What we give is an opinion, an alternative mainstream, and that’s the only way that helps us attract an audience,” she explained.
In the United States, RT is especially popular among the leftists and those struggling against the incumbent administration. Simonyan thinks that a good resource which Russia has to use in the next information warfare to avoid the defeat it suffered in the 2008 war with Georgia.
Speaking about the Iron Ladies, Simonyan said she isn’t much pleased with the broadcast. “I think we are obliged to take debatable topics. That’s the reason I find the first show’s topic unsuccessful. What debate can be developed about the meteor which fell in Chelyabinsk? That’s why the broadcast was more like concise news reporting. We are now moving towards the format of developing an acute political talk-show. And the topics, I think, have to be contentious to reflect the views of different parts of the society,” she added.
But Simonyan said she considers the second show (devoted to the resignation of the Russian parliament member, Vladimir Pekhtin) more successful, as it helped sparked a more active debate.
Speaking about the functions of journalism, the ethnic Armenian editor said she feels conveying news to the public has to be the mission of a journalist.
“As for a criticizing or supporting the government, that’s something to be done by corresponding public or political organizations. If a media outlet thinks the authorities do something that has to be criticized, let it do so. If you believe it wouldn’t be bad to deliver a praise to what is going on around, then that’s what you have to do. It’s not for a TV company to follow the audience’s interests; it has to raise an average viewer’s level,” Simonyan said.
She further addressed the educational functions of journalism. “If you believe journalism must educate people – as it did in the Soviet Union – and teach them something as do secondary schools, or develop a taste, then journalists guiding themselves by your principles have to work with media outlets which do exactly that. I, for example, wouldn’t like to return to the times when [authorities] decided instead of the people what is worth watching and what is silly and spoiling taste.”
Asked why she chose to combine her job at Russia Today with NTV, simultaneously writing columns for other outlets, the Russia Today editor-in-chief said, “I do certainly get a good salary, but not the kind that would allow me to give up thinking of other sums. Never in my life have I taken a bribe or ‘kickback’. I have a big Armenian family, which is partially impoverished. I have a house which I have purchased with a mortgage loan. Hence, no interesting and well-paid job is against my principles. I also write scenarios at nights,” said she.
Simonyan was frank enough to admit she doesn’t like being under pa ublic spotlight. “You may not believe, but I appeared in a TV company quite by chance, when I was 18. I needed a job to come over a crisis. I wanted to be a writer and a journalist of a print media outlet. I was a successful correspondent so people in the street grew to recognize me. But I didn’t like it much.”
Simonyan said she never wears makes-up and special hairdos or clothing. “In real life, I never wear the clothes which I use when appearing on NTV. I am quite a different person, so I don’t like all this. However, if I’m offered an equivalent sum for another job, I would certainly do that. But there was no offer. I know all this is impossible to believe, so I understand you if you do not. But things have turned that way. I knew and still know no other profession, as I have been doing this since I was 18. If I did, I would use it with a great pleasure. I wouldn’t at least have the complexes which I have now. I never watch my air broadcasts, for instance. My family sits back to watch me, but I use earpieces not to listen. It’s not pleasing to me.”
The Russian-Armenian journalist said at the end that she would be very pleased to write a book had she had equal chances now. 

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