October 21, 2005

What Price a Free Press?

Three interesting, related, but separate news items came across the electronic transom today:

#1: The Russian Duma's Information Policy Committee yesterday adopted a resolution that states, among other things: "The ideological slant of media has been replaced by a commercial one, while pornography and violence in media have become a national threat." On the whole, members of the committee said, the media is too negative, it is only out to "tease and entertain." The solution? Why, stricter regs, of course. And more state TV channels for youth, places where "positive" information will be disbursed.

#2: Editor in Chief of the Russian magazine Ekspert, Valery Fadaev, who apparently is self-nominating for Suck Up of the Year, said that Russian media is in danger of being overrun by foreign media companies, especially when it comes to magazines. "The expansion is so great," Fadayev said, "that, in the near future, our moral ideals will be determined by foreign companies."

#3: Reporters Sans Frontiers, the French organization devoted to defending freedom of the press around the world has issued its 4th Annual Worldwide Press Freedom ranking. There are 167 countries in the ranking. Russia came in 138th place. In 139th place was what RSF calls "US in Iraq." So Russian media is one step better than that produced in an occupied country.

To summarize:

The pernicious influence of Western media has led to an overly negative and anti-establishment press in Russia. This, in turn, has led to a crackdown on the media by a repressive State.

Or maybe someone is trying to blame outside forces for their repressive policies?


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