Russia's outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev has pledged government funding for a new public television network free from government control.

Medvedev's decree, published on April 17, said the new network, due to start broadcasting on January 1, 2013, will initially be funded by the government.

It will then be financed from a government endowment trust and donations.

Since the early 2000s, all of Russia's existing national television networks have been brought under control of the Kremlin or government-friendly businesses.

The opposition has accused the Kremlin of silencing government critics and manipulating public opinion.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and AP