News / Europe

Russia Press Freedom Narrows With Newsweek Closure

Editorial Director of Russian Newsweek Leonid Bershidsky gives a thumbs up while holding the first issue in Moscow 07 June 2004
Editorial Director of Russian Newsweek Leonid Bershidsky gives a thumbs up while holding the first issue in Moscow 07 June 2004
James Brooke

The Russian edition of Newsweek has unexpectedly closed, and Russia's leading opposition newspaper says it might be forced to close soon.

Russia Newsweek has joined a long list of independent media outlets that have either closed or fallen under government control during the past decade.

Since it opened in 2004, Russia Newsweek was seen as a hard hitting purveyor of independent news. Last year, it created an ad campaign that was seen as so skeptical of government officials that Moscow subway system and several billboard companies refused to run it.

The German publishing group Axel Springer announced it would not renew its license for the magazine franchise. Falling ad sales and weak circulation were cited as the cause.

Newsweek editor Mikhail Fishman told VOA:

"Of course our death is a huge loss, but we are not the last," he said.

With the magazine often seen as in opposition to the Kremlin, no Russian white knight came forward to save it. Newsweek was so controversial that last spring, a pro-Kremlin nationalist youth group posted attack videos against Fishman on its website.

The closing of the newsmagazine was announced after the nation's leading opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, lost a key court case on Friday.

A state media watchdog committee, Roskomnadzor, has issued a warning to the newspaper, faulting its reporting.

Newspaper spokeswoman Nadejda Prosenkova said another warning would be enough for closure.

The closure of Newsweek, she said, could become a trend.

During the past decade of dominance of Russian politics by Vladimir Putin, all television stations have fallen under state ownership or control. In print or on the airwaves, independent voices are increasingly rare.

The director of studies for Freedom House, Christopher Walker, said from New York:

"Russia's margin for error in its news sector is very thin," said Walker. "There are not many voices that are able to cover meaningful issues, politically consequential issues on a regular basis. So to the extent that Novaya Gazeta is itself in jeopardy, that is deeply troubling."

Independent journalism in the country will come under more pressure because during the next 18 months, Russia will hold parliamentary and presidential elections. Historically, the Kremlin tightens media and societal controls before elections.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid