Russian TV warned over 'end of world' hype
A group of Russian politicians have urged national TV networks to show restraint in broadcasting material suggesting the end of the world is nigh, a parliamentary official said.
According to an ancient Mayan calendar, Dec 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year long cycle. Lurid articles have already started appearing in Russia's tabloid press speculating on the date's significance.
"We discussed this and sent an official letter to executives at Russia's leading TV networks," said Mikhail Degtyarev, who represents the LDPR party in Russia's lower house of parliament (Duma) and is deputy chair of the Duma Science Committee.
"In our compatriots' interests, we ask you to pay attention to the dissemination of pseudo-scientific information about the end of the world in your media," the letter said.
The letter warned TV stations that excessive media hype about the "end of the world" could have negative effects on some people's mental and emotional state, and also stressed that thousands of conmen, pseudo-wizards, self-styled "visionaries" and "snake-oil salesmen" are exploiting it to prey on the gullible.
It called for the media to run special announcements stating that talk of any upcoming apocalypse is clearly unscientific.