updated 6/7/2005 12:11:45 PM ET 2005-06-07T16:11:45

A 24-hour, English-language satellite news channel announced Tuesday and funded by the state has been simultaneously lauded as a much-needed antidote to the doom-and-gloom stereotypes of Russia in the western media, and slammed as Kremlin-managed propaganda tool that few will view.

The state budget includes $30 million to get Russia Today TV and its planned 200-strong team of journalists up and running by year’s end. The station will be directed by a state TV reporter in her mid-20s.

The aim of the news station, which eventually hopes to support itself on advertising earnings, is to provide a “cross-section of opinion” from Russia on domestic and international news, Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of RTTV, told a news conference.

“We will take foreign experience and adapt it,” she said.

The station — which will initially target an audience with an interest in Russia — is busy recruiting both Russian and foreign journalists, and has yet to settle on a logo, she said.

Some observers have suggested that the creation of the channel is a financially dubious effort to counter Western concerns that President Vladimir Putin is returning to more authoritarian Soviet ways, sparked in part by the politically charged drive against oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his Yukos oil empire.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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