Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Gazprom Buys the Print Media

Writing on the RFE/RL web site, Robert Parsons discusses Gazprom's apparent designs on the remaining independent print media in Russia. Izvestia and Kommersant are both candidates for a Gazprom takeover. Parsons talks to Masha Gessen, who comments:
"What is going on here is there's a [presidential] election coming up in 2008 and the Kremlin clearly feels it needs to take control over the remaining print media, now that they have complete control over the electronic media. Things keep going in the same direction and it's intensified because of the election coming up."
And Oleg Panfilov, director of the Moscow-based Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations, says he thinks that
"...the authorities are conducting a political game in which on the one hand they want a controlled press but on the other have certain obligations to the European Union and the G-8. And so a small part of the free press will be allowed to remain in order to create the image of a more or less free state. It's another matter of course that this small part of the press has no influence on public opinion..."
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