President Mikhail S. Gorbachev ordered the reorganization Friday of Soviet broadcasting, transforming the governmental committee that has run radio and television into an autonomous, state-owned corporation. He named a politically conservative news executive as its chairman.
Although the move was part of the general decentralization resulting from broad political and economic changes, its form appeared to ensure Gorbachev will retain direct control of the broadcast media through his appointment of the corporation's chairman.Gorbachev immediately appointed Leonid P. Kravchenko, who has been chairman of the State Committee for Television and Radio, to head the corporation - despite widespread criticism of his conservative policies and his recent censorship of radical programming.
As now planned, the reorganization would give the corporation chairman greater powers, allowing him to make more decisions on his own authority, freeing him from supervision by Communist Party officials and members of Parliament, leaving him responsible only to the president.
Last week, Kravchenko, the former director of the official news agency Tass, took liberal Radio Rossiya off the major frequencies it had been using, depriving it of half of its audience.
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