[ View the story "Putin's media shake-up" on Storify] Putin's media shake-up How will the president's decision affect Russia's news landscape?
The Stream· Thu, Dec 19 2013 08:39:54
The dissolution of the Russian state news agency,
RIA Novosti, came as a surprise to its staff on December 9. Many suggest Vladimir Putin is tightening his grip on the country's media landscape following a decree replacing RIA Novosti with a new state-owned giant called Rossiya Segodnya or "Russia Today". It remains unclear whether the new media agency will be affiliated to the English-language television channel Russia Today. According to Sergei Ivanov, head of the presidential administration, the move aims to ensure cost-effectiveness and improve Russia's state media. He also noted that Russia is "firmly protecting its national interests and explaining this to the world is not easy, but it can and must be done".
Below is the executive order posted on the
The President gave the instruction to establish a federal state unitary enterprise, International Information Agency Russia Today, the main purpose of which is to provide information on Russian state policy and Russian life and society for audiences abroad. The Executive Order also concerns reorganisation of other media outlets, including the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The Executive Order also liquidates Russian State Radio Broadcasting Company Voice of Russia, and Federal State Unitary Enterprise Russian News and Information Agency RIA Novosti. The relevant instructions have been sent to the Government.eng.kremlin.ru
The Moscow Times
RIA Novosti has had a presence in 45 countries and coverage in 14 languages. The history of the previous media giant can be traced back to
World War II
, when it became the Soviet Information Bureau following the invasion of Nazi Germany. Below is a picture of the RIA Novosti building in Russia.
Many online, including employees of the former news agency, shared their thoughts about the sudden decree:
Former head of RIA Novosti shared his new updated
page, a professional profile network, which indicates that he was a former employee at the news agency.
@vassgatov: My professional profile on LinkedIn has been updated. Check my profile.
Мой профессиональный профиль в LinkedIn обновлён. Установите со мной контакт, чтобы просмотреть мой профиль.
Reminiscing about creating logo for @ria_novosti, the Russian news agency Putin closed one week ago;
Can RIA Novosti be saved in the Kremlin amnesty?David Nowak
@AJStream Putin just wants to be in control over what news comes out from Russia for public consumption. #Monopolizing News outlet.Ativie Christian
@AJStream when a country tries to dismantle access to information just wait for more restrictions on personal freedomOlaorun
Are we surprised? Putin is a modern Stalin.Yrag Dleifrettas
Though RIA Novosti was state-owned, it acquired a reputation of being a
source under Svetlana Mironyuk, the chief editor since 2004. It also attracted many independent journalists.
#RIANovosti, although owned by the government was the work of life of a brilliant media manager Vasily #Gatov and his colleaguesAlexey Sidorenko
However, what surprised many is the appointment of a controversial and prominent television personality,
, as the new director general. Kiselyov is a staunch Kremlin supporter who has been called by some as Putin's propagandist.
In another executive order, Mr Putin appointed Dmitry Kiselev to the post of general director of the International Information Agency Russia Today.eng.kremlin.ru
Kiselyov, well known for his anti-Western and anti-gay views, has also been criticised for homophobic comments made during a televised debate about a law banning "gay propaganda". In it, he
that homosexuals "should be banned from donating blood or sperm, and if they die in a car crash, their hearts should be burnt or buried in the ground as unsuitable for the continuation of life".
In the video below, The Stream discusses laws restricting minority rights:
The Stream - Is Russia's majority rule restricting minority rights?Al Jazeera English
"Gay's should not be allowed to donate organs. In fact their organs should be burned after death." -Dmitry KiselyovOpTic Furry®
#Putin closes #RIANovosti. Agency too independent for his liking. New entity led by nationalist, paranoid homophobe.
Some believe the motivation behind the abrupt elimination of the news agency is its moderately liberal tone. RIA Novosti reported on the mass protests following elections in
. The dissolution comes at a time when RIA Novosti has been reporting on the mass protests underway in Ukraine.
The Stream - Ukraine's east-west divideAl Jazeera English
Recently, a protester in Kiev, Ukraine's capital, awarded a Russian reporter an "
" award for their coverage of
Ukraine's mass protests
Оскар для Киселева за ахинею и ложь в эфиреromchukiv
There were some who praised Putin's move:
He is one of the handful leaders who cares for the world!Berhane T. Medhin
Putin is not after your approval or not he only wants Russia to be safe and well defended, all systems needs check and balances and Russia and putin do that for the west Beiji Dangoli Putin Aaron
good decision by putinZafar Kazi
Our community voiced their opinion on whether state-owned media can be an objective source of news:
@AJStream This is next to impossible!Ahmed Salisu
@AhmedSalisu @AJStream A perfect example in Australia is @abcnews and SBS World NewsDavid Blayney
@AJStream only if there's freedom of expression.labelle vitien
@AJStream sometimes even the privately own media serve some other people intrest apart from the general public that is meant to served.Auwal m. Aisha