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

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid