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Racing against time
Putin’s anti-media campaign is out of tune and can backfire...
R ussia’s meteoric rise in the past one decade under the aegis of the charismatic President Vladimir Putin notwithstanding, is strangulation of the domestic media vindicates that even though economically Russia is much better off today, the essence of democracy has still a long way to go. At a time when the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) are going to host the 2007 World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists, the government’s order to RUJ to vacate space for state-run satellite radio doesn’t augur well for the Russian Society. Russian News Service (RNS) is a typical example of legitimating censorship. The strict RNS instruction is simple, the news to be aired should be more of good news, and there is no need to broadcast bad news. Surprisingly, RNS has also made a blacklist of journalists who are not allowed to broadcast any news. No wonder if the government’s present moves of restricting media policies continue unabated, then it doesn’t portend a rosy picture for the journalists in the coming times, who have always been ambiguous and uncertain over the end of censorship. However, recent incidents of eight journalists’ resignation and the formation of collective protest against this censorship issue has raised a sign of hope for all.
It is strange that one of the most popular presidents of Russia of all the times, and a man known for his strong convictions and iron-hand rule, who single- handedly transformed Russia into a modern, rich and influential one, should be so wary about the media. He should realise that every time the world has been against him and his policies, the common Russians have always rallied behind him. But if he forces to gag the media, then it might just backfire.
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