Forum of Women Parliamentarians held as a part of 137th IPU Assembly gave us an opportunity to interview Irada Zeinalova, famous Russian journalist and NTV channel presenter. Agata Korovina discussed humanism in journalism, politically undesirable reporters and gender ghetto with the acknowledged professional. 

- As they say, journalism is the fourth estate. What, in your opinion, is the creative power of women in journalism? 

- In journalism, there are no men and women. There are journalists and that is it. That job is creative itself. The question is whether you highlight injustices and positive events or you do not. 


- We live in the Internet age, so journalism is evolving. What advice can you give to the journalists-to-be? 

- Nowadays, young journalists are ill-educated, ill-read, lazy and selfish and that has nothing to do with journalist’s ambitions. If you want money, fame and exciting life, journalism is not for you. The job is physically hard and tiresome.

I would also advise those who are already doing journalism to double-check new technologies, as fake news are a thing. You cannot trust anyone if you are a journalist. Without double-checking the facts, journalism is propaganda. 

- So, what about promptness? 

Some time ago, our famous journalist Oleg Dobrodeev declared the principle of “the faster – the better”. Now the game changed. It is more profitable to be the most precise than to be fastest. The problem of modern journalism is that the Internet created a society of non-professionals, who think they can stand by their words, as no one will punch them in the face in reality. 


- But the desire to be the first is the professional one. Or isn’t it? 

- Surely, it is. But look at the example: one respectable newspaper wrote that Dmitri Hvorostovsky died, having only one source on that. It needs to be three, but the time was more important. The source turned out to be false. So, what is more important, to be first or to be true? 

Here is another one. Left-wing media wrote about two of our citizens who were captured prisoners in Syria. Then they develop it through their parents and so on. That is the matter of Federal Security Service to save those people. It is mean to write about that. A journalist remains a journalist until they stick to do no harm rule. 

- I spoke to the local journalists and they told me that a journalist should forget about their emotions and just do his job. For example, it works when someone dies in an accident and it is needed to call a person’s family. 

- You know, I started as a polite journalist. I could never call families of those who died to get comments. What information would you like to get? Tears? Is it worth it? I think not. Ratings are never worth it. It can be compared to cannibalism. 


- Journalists, however, should write about bad things. We cannot ignore them. 

- I am totally sure, that we should highlight them. However, we should also provide people with answers and ways out. If you are writing about corruption, than mention the names, say how you obtained the information. It is one’s job and obligation to do it. 

- What can you say about women who ask for special benefits while working? 

- A woman should be a woman only in personal life, not at work. I was never discriminated at work in my whole life. If you ask for benefits, you pull yourself into a gender ghetto. As soon as you start to divide our world into men and women at work, you pack your things and go home. 

- So, you work double tides?

- From Monday till Friday night I am on a business trip. I write from Saturday till 6 a.m. on Sunday. On Monday I can sleep till 12 o’clock and then I start again. However, I still find time to wash up, look for my family and do shopping, as I think it is essential. I do not ask for any gender-based benefits. Gender ghetto awaits everyone who asks. 

- How do you relax and restore your energy? 

- Journalism is not my job, it is my way of living. Sometimes I watch films with my husband. I fall, then stand up and go on. If you want to be the best, you cannot have mercy for yourself. 

Agata Korovina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Boykov