Spasibo, Comrade Putin
The Soviet Union Russia continues its march forward into the past. Do svidaniya press freedom:
From the New York Times, April 22
MOSCOW, April 21 — At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive.”
In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.
How would they know what constituted positive news?
“When we talk of death, violence or poverty, for example, this is not positive,” said one editor at the station who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution. “If the stock market is up, that is positive. The weather can also be positive.”
In a darkening media landscape, radio news had been a rare bright spot. Now, the implementation of the “50 percent positive” rule at the Russian News Service leaves an increasingly small number of news outlets that are not managed by the Kremlin, directly or through the state national gas company, Gazprom, a major owner of media assets.
The three national television networks are already state controlled, though small-circulation newspapers generally remain independent.
This month alone, a bank loyal to President Vladimir V. Putin tightened its control of an independent television station, Parliament passed a measure banning “extremism” in politics and prosecutors have gone after individuals who post critical comments on Web chat rooms.
Parliament is also considering extending state control to Internet sites that report news, reflecting the growing importance of Web news as the country becomes more affluent and growing numbers of middle-class Russians acquire computers.
On Tuesday, the police raided the Educated Media Foundation, a nongovernmental group sponsored by United States and European donors that helps foster an independent news media. The police carried away documents and computers that were used as servers for the Web sites of similar groups. That brought down a Web site run by the Glasnost Defense Foundation, a media rights group, which published bulletins on violations of press freedoms.
“Russia is dropping off the list of countries that respect press freedoms,” said Boris Timoshenko, a spokesman for the foundation. “We have propaganda, not information.”
"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Spasibo, Comrade Putin