ERR in Moscow: Russian media's self-censorship deepening

The Kremlin (AP/Scanpix)
2/16/2015 11:00 AM
Category: International

Russian journalists say there is no direct state censorship, but journalists themselves have increasing self-censorship and the number of readers denouncing journalists has also spiked, said Neeme Raud, ERR's man in Moscow.

Ekaterina Vinokurova, a special correspondent for news website znak.com, said she had not seen direct state control. She said fear of writing on certain topics among journalists has increased.

“Society is currently neurotic, and people are afraid to make the wrong move, make the wrong noise, name the Donets Basin with the wrong name,” she said.

Vinokurova said readers are demanding explanation when they put quotation marks around the names of the Donets Basin republics. She added that a certain type of reader, last seen during the Soviet era, who promise to report journalists to “you know who.”

She quoted one letter she received: “I read your column about the Russian economy and how it is falling apart and decided to send a copy to the FSB [the Russian security services], as I find you to be a traitor to the homeland and you need to be imprisoned for 10 years.”

Many similar readers are popping up in the Russian society and the real danger could lie in these sort of people who have lost the ploy and brand anything they don't like as betrayal of the fatherland.

Besides other problems, the economic reality could also hit the sector in Russia, with estimates putting the number of journalists who could lose their jobs this year at 60,000, out of 300,000 journalists.

J.M. Laats

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