The free press in Russia must have its economic basis instead of protecting corporative interests, Vladimir Putin said at the meeting with the graduates and students of Columbia University.
"A free possibility of expressing one's views must be limited by the law adopted in a democratic way," he pointed out.
A vivid example of this problem, said Putin, "took place during the capture of hostages in Moscow, when one television company bribed a policeman to have a possibility to climb to the roof of the building and broadcast the storm live, thus having jeopardized the lives of the 800 hostages and 200 special forces officers who stormed the building." "They did this not fighting for the freedom of speech but, as later their colleagues admitted, in the fight against their rivals, in the fight for money," said the Russian President.
"Is it permissible to jeopardize the life of people in the fight for superprofit?" the head of the Russian state asked a rhetoric question.
"The press can be free if it has its own economic basis but if it is monopolized by two or three 'money bags,' it is not a freedom, but the protection of corporative interests," he underscored.