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RIA Novosti launches a TV channel, Russia Today

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia Today, a RIA Novosti English-language TV channel to be launched later this year, will become a sort of "Russia's BBC", said Margarita Simonyan, a famous journalist and the project leader.

"It will be a perspective on the world from Russia. We do not want to change the professional format developed by such TV channels as the BBC, CNN, and Euronews. We want to reflect Russia's opinion of the world and to make Russia clearer for understanding," she said.

The 24-hour news channel founded by RIA Novosti will be launched before the end of this year. It will be sponsored by RIA Novosti and borrowed funds, said Simonyan. International news will make about 70% of the broadcasting time.

The channel will initially employ about 500 people.

"We will try to employ mostly Russians but there will be difficulties, as very few professionals in Russia can work on air in English. We will also hire foreigners," said Simonyan.

She said the foreign media were not always unbiased in covering events in Russia.

"Many foreigners are surprised to see that Russia is different from what they see in media reports. We will try to present a more balanced picture," said Simonyan.

Before this new appointment, Simonyan, 25, was a special correspondent in the Kremlin's pool. Before then, she was head of the correspondent bureau in Krasnodar and worked for the local TV.

She said she was surprised at the offer to lead the new project.

"My first question was - do you know how old I am? But, honestly, I'm not afraid, it will be interesting to create a new television [channel] seeking to become No. 1," said Simonyan.

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