Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, December 13, 2013

The politics of reporting

Government run news agencies exist in almost every country. Some, like the BBC, have reputations for accuracy and impartiality. Others, like Xinhua, are obvious mouthpieces for the government. It looks like Russia's news agency will be more like the Chinese one. How do news agencies in Mexico, Iran, and Nigeria compare to Russia's? to China's? to the UK's?

Russian news agency RIA Novosti closed down
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has abolished the country's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.

In a surprise decree published on the Kremlin's website on Monday, Mr Putin announced it would be replaced by a news agency called Russia Today.

Novosti panel
The new agency will be headed by journalist and keen Kremlin supporter Dmitry Kiselev…

Sergey Ivanov, the head of the Kremlin administration, has told journalists in Moscow that the news agency is being restructured in order to make it more economical while increasing its reach, Interfax reports…

For many Kremlin critics in Russia, [this action] suggests this is a sinister move by President Putin, says the BBC's Daniel Sandford in Moscow.

During Mr Putin's time as Russia's leader, RIA Novosti has tried hard to produce balanced coverage for Russian and international audiences, our correspondent says.

Although state-owned, it has reflected the views of the opposition and covered difficult topics for the Kremlin, our correspondent adds.

Mr Kiselev is known for his ultra-conservative views…

Reporting on its own demise, RIA noted in its news report that "the move is the latest in a series of shifts in Russia's news landscape, which appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector".

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