First-hand experience with the Russian political talk show phenomenon shows that this is bona fide journalism serving the public interest, exposing the broad Russian television audience, from everyone’s parents and grandparents to business leaders and university dons, to a great many different competing and well-presented views on the major issues of the day, both domestic and international.
In World Press Freedom Index 2016 Russia ranks 148 out of 180 countries rsf.org/en/ranking/2016, According to the Freedom House report 2016, Russia was deemed "not free" freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2016/russia, : "The main national news agenda is firmly controlled by the Kremlin. The government sets editorial policy at state-owned television stations, which dominate the media landscape and generate propagandistic content. The country’s more than 400 daily newspapers offer content on a wide range of topics but rarely challenge the official line on important issues such as corruption or foreign policy. Meaningful political debate is mostly limited to weekly magazines, news websites, some radio programs, and a handful of newspapers." This represents a significant deterioration: in 2002, Russia was still deemed partly free: freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2002/russia, For background see: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17840134, https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/research/files/Market%2520and%2520political%2520factors%2520and%2520the%2520Russian%2520media%2520-%2520Katja%2520Lehtisaari.pdf Updated 20 February 2018.