The Re-Sovietization of the Russian Press and Gazprom’s active part in it.

Här kommer en fortsättning på mina inlägg om den Ryska staten och dess användning av Gazprom som ett redskap för kontroll och expansion. Russia’s Gazprom’s Energy ImperialismScratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines och Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance – Who wants to die for Tbilisi or Stockholm?

I det här fallet rör det sig om hur den ryska staten använt Gazprom för att tysta all kritik och ta över alla oberoende massmedia.

För att göra en jämförelse med Sverige – Det vore som om Reinfeldt satte partisekreteraren Per Schlingmann i ledning för Vattenfall. Och där sedan Vattenfall i rask takt tvingar till sig kontrollen över (med hjälp av skattemyndigheterna, åklagarna, polisen och militären) TV4, TV5, hela Stenbecks sfären, SVD, DN, Expressen, Aftonbladet, GP, Syd Svenskan etc., alla rikstäckande radiokanaler plus de viktigare lokala stationerna etc.

Som liten lokal tidning, tv kanal och radiostation etc. så kan du fortsätta att existera om du inte ägnar dig åt att kritisera Reinfeldt och statsledningen och dess politik

I övrigt så måste ALLA följa TV 1: s direktiv och regler för nyhetssändningar och kommentarer.

Journalister som är ”besvärliga” och inte har förstått den nya ordningen och som envisas med att rapportera ”ofördelaktiga” saker om härskaren Reinfeldt och tillståndet i landet trakasseras och förföljs. Om inte det hjälper så misshandlas man eller i vissa fall mördas man.

Så ser det ut idag i Ryssland vad det gäller massmedia. Och där Gazprom har varit det aktiva verktyget i att fullfölja den ryska statens politik.

Ur IPI (International Press Institute) Watch List Report om Ryssland:

”Repression of the independent media continued in the period running up to parliamentary (2 December 2007) and presidential (2 March 2008 ) elections. Charges of criminal defamation continued to be brought against editors and journalists critical of public officials, with disproportionate penalties proving a disincentive to objective reporting. In addition, journalists who covered opposition parties or reported critically on the current administration were often subjected to threats and physical harassment. Some independent periodicals had their premises raided and equipment confiscated on exaggerated charges related to software piracy. Meanwhile, the state media lavished attention on Vladimir Putin, his presidential successor Dmitry Medvedev, and their ”United Russia” political party.

Russia continued to be a dangerous place for journalists, particularly for those reporting in or on the troubled North Caucasus region. Ten journalists were detained by authorities while covering a demonstration in Ingushetia’s capital in January. Eyewitness accounts indicated that one of the journalists, Mustafa Kurskiev, was severely beaten by police officers during the arrests. Kurskiev and a RIA-Novosti colleague, Said-Khussein Tsarnaev, were detained overnight without being given the opportunity to contact a lawyer, and without food or water; Kurskiev was also denied medical assistance despite his sustained injuries. Also in Ingushetia, in late November 2007, three journalists were kidnapped from their hotel and beaten by unknown assailants.

In March, in two unrelated incidents, two journalists were murdered within the space of 24 hours. Both journalists covered the Russian North Caucasus. Gadzhi Abashilov, head of the state radio and television company in Dagestan, was killed in his car by an unidentified gunman in the Dagestani capital. Only hours before, Ilyas Shurpayev, a Dagestan-born journalist and North Caucasus correspondent for Russia’s state television Channel One, was found dead in his Moscow apartment. He had been strangled and stabbed to death, with the perpetrators setting fire to his apartment in an apparent attempt to cover their tracks.”

IPI Watch List Report om Ryssland finns här:

Ett annat exempel hur det går till i Putin land:

” 18 May 2007


The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, strongly condemns the eviction of the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) from its Moscow offices.

According to IPI’s sources, the RUJ received a notice dated April 18 from the Federal Property Management Agency (Rosimushchestvo) ordering them to vacate their headquarters on Zubovsky Boulevard within one month. The notice was allegedly not delivered until 15 May, leaving the RUJ only three days to vacate their offices.

The RUJ is Russia‘s largest independent association of journalists. Its member groups include the Glasnost Defense Foundation and the Center for Journalists in Extreme Situations, which are located in the same building and must also vacate their offices. The RUJ was given use of the building on Zubovsky Boulevard under a decree issued by President Boris Yeltsin and plans to take legal action against the eviction.

The Federal Property Management Agency provided no explanation for its decision to evict the RUJ, but local press reports said the premises would be given to Russia Today, a state-owned English-language satellite television channel tasked with creating a positive image of Russia abroad. The eviction comes just days before the RUJ is to host the 26th World Congress of Journalists, an international gathering of media workers, which begins on 28 May.

Speaking about the move to evict the RUJ, Johann P. Fritz, Director of IPI, said, ”The decision and its timing appear to be aimed at sabotaging the upcoming journalists’ conference, and silencing the critical voice of the union and its members.

IPI strongly condemns this action and calls on the authorities to reconsider its decision and to allow the RUJ to operate without further obstruction.”

Ytterligare ett exempel bland många:

”06 July 2007

H.E. Vladimir Putin


Your Excellency,

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 110 countries, is writing to express its growing concern at the behaviour of the Russian authorities in the case of the Educated Media Foundation (EMF); a non-profit journalists’ training organisation formerly known as Internews Russia.

According to information provided to IPI, on 21 January, Manana Aslamazyan, the President of EMF, was stopped by a customs officer at Sheremetyevo airport and found to be carrying an amount of foreign currency exceeding the proscribed limit. The authorities subsequently instituted a criminal enquiry that caused Aslamazyan to leave the country for France. On 19 June, she was charged with smuggling and faces five years in prison.

On 18 April, around 20 investigating officers from the Interior Ministry raided the EMF offices. The officers remained at the premises for 11 hours and took away EMF’s servers, as well as financial and administrative records. In May, the organisation’s bank accounts were frozen.

As a result of the raid and the freezing of assets, EMF was forced to close and suspend its training programmes; many of its 65-member team have been forced to look for alternative employment.

The raid on EMF comes at a time when the Russian government has attacked civil society claiming that many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are financed by foreign governments for the sole purpose of interfering in the country’s internal affairs. Moreover, there are also mounting concerns over press freedom in Russia, particularly concerning impunity for the murder of journalists.

Although IPI makes no comment on Aslamazyan’s case, it is concerned that the authorities are using an individual’s breach of customs law to silence an independent legal entity involved in improving the practices of journalism in Russia. This will have a detrimental impact not only on Russian journalists, but also on a society already facing a lack of independent sources of information.

IPI also believes that the conflation of the case against Aslamazyan and the pursuit of EMF is politically motivated. Indeed, it would appear that by acting in this extreme manner the authorities are sending a signal to other NGO’s operating in Russia that they may face similar treatment.

If true, such actions only hurt those supported by the organisations. IPI would remind Your Excellency that in the past you have consistently expressed a commitment to Russian civil society. Therefore, we would call on you to uphold this commitment and to do everything in your power to ensure that EMF and any other organisation is allowed to continue with its vital work free of state harassment or interference.

We thank you for your attention.

Johann P. Fritz

IPI Director”

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Posted on Jul. 14, 2008

By Michael J. Economides and Nate Evans

The Re-Sovietization of the Russian Press

American newspaper editor William Allen White once said that a ”newspaper is as good as the town it serves.” Today, one need only look at Russia’s press to understand the country. About 30 years ago during the Cold War, the differences between the U.S. and Russia (then the Soviet Union) were at their starkest. But it was the press – both print and broadcast – that showed citizens and foreigners alike the chasm between their societies and their political systems.

Towards the end of Leonid Brezhnev’s long rule (18 years as General Secretary of the Communist Party), a sclerotic old man was the dominant image on Russian TV. Russians, always good at the offhand political joke, had one in which somebody flipped through four television channels: the first had Brezhnev talking; the second was the same; the third was the same. The fourth had a soldier with a gun pointed at the camera, barking, ”What’s the matter, you didn’t like the other three?”

For decades, Gosteleradio, the ”U.S.S.R. State Committee for Television and Radio,” had thoroughly flooded the airwaves with state-induced propaganda preaching loyalty and duty to the Communist Party. It was not until Nikita Khrushchev that the Soviet Union admitted the reality of Joseph Stalin and his purges of nearly 20 million. And it was not until Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika that the press gained some semblance of freedom of speech and the public, some access to uncensored information.

In the meantime the United States was undergoing its own sea change. Social taboos were shattered when the TV show ”All in the Family” debuted in 1971. Gone were the days of Ozzie and Harriet and few things were beyond bounds: racism, homosexuality, women’s liberation, rape, miscarriage, breast cancer, or impotence. This allowed American TV to become what it is today, diverse and, in some cases, unavoidably crass.

A few years earlier it had been Walter Cronkite, ”the most trusted man in America,” who departed from the past by reporting on Vietnam War atrocities and proclaiming the war unwinnable. His front-line perspective and his war criticism led President Lyndon Johnson to admit, ”If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America.” Suddenly, America‘s media found the power to critique – to raise national security issues before the American public. Skeptical and cynical journalism was born and has flourished ever since.

When Boris Yeltsin took over Russia in early 1992, the press went through the same privatization as the oil industry, with many of the same oligarchs controlling the media. Billionaires such as Vladimir Potanin and Vladimir Gusinsky, Russia‘s answer to Rupert Murdoch, gained a near-monopoly of the industry.

That control came to a screeching halt under President Vladimir Putin, in a weird, almost insidious way. Today, TV and game shows in Russia can be as silly or as racy as in America. And while sex and pornography are equally available there, political coverage has reverted to much the same as it was during the Brezhnev era.

In fact, the International Press Institute’s watch list recently named Russia as one of five countries becoming increasingly repressive. The Committee to Protect Journalists cited Putin in its list of ten Worst Enemies of the Press, which also includes Ayatollah Khomeini, Charles Taylor, Fidel Castro, and Robert Mugabe.

During Putin’s tenure, nearly two dozen journalists were assassinated. None of the cases was ever solved. All major national and regional networks are now owned by the government or those in bed with the Kremlin. Gusinsky’s media empire was taken over and he was forced into exile. Gazprom seized Gusinsky’s NTV, valued at $1 billion. Gazprom subsequently also took control and closed Gusinsky’s first newspaper Sevodnya and fired and locked out the staff of news magazine Igoti.

The often whimsical, turned awkward, turned deadly habits honed during the Soviet times are back. Mikhail Delyagin, a well-known political scientist, recently appeared in a TV panel discussion making several comments critical of Putin. But before the program aired, Delyagin had mysteriously disappeared, digitally erased from the screen. In a photo of the discussion, Delyagin’s seat at the panel was empty – except for his legs!

But new president Dmitri Medvedev likes what he sees. He recently said, ”In terms of quality and production, our television is among the best in the world and, to my mind, it is worth watching.” Brezhnev himself couldn’t have said it any better.

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5 svar to “The Re-Sovietization of the Russian Press and Gazprom’s active part in it.”

  1. Jeff Atkinson Says:

    Great post. I will read your posts frequently. Added you to the RSS reader.

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