Turner-led group reconsidering offer for Russian TV network

Tuesday, April 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ Investors led by Ted Turner may end negotiations to buy 30 percent of Russia's only national independent television network now that it was taken over by a government-connected gas company.

``We are very disappointed with the events of the weekend,'' spokesman Brian Faw said Monday after the takeover of NTV by Gazprom.

``We are going to take the next few days to re-evaluate our positions with respect to NTV.''

Gazprom was locked in a two-week standoff with the network's journalists, who claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin is using Gazprom in an attempt to silence his critics. Boris Jordan, an American financier chosen by Gazprom to head the network, said about 45 workers have left.

Tatyana Blinova, spokeswoman for the ousted NTV leadership, said more than 350 employees, including 85 percent of the journalistic staff, had resigned as of Monday.

Turner has said his priority was to keep NTV an independent news voice. NTV's assets also include a direct-to-home satellite distribution system that covers Russia and parts of Europe and the Middle East.