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Friday, July 14, 2006

It's Official: Scientific Study Shows Russian Media Now Slaves of the Kremlin

Memo98 has issued a report surveying the Russian media landscape and finding overwhelming evidence of the Neo-Soviet crackdown. The full report can be read here.

MEMO 98, in cooperation with the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES), the informational and analytical center of the Russian Union of Journalists, has been systematically monitoring the coverage of the Russian political scene in the selected media.

MEMO 98 and CJES seek to evaluate the mass media’s performance in providing an objective portrayal of public affairs and in disseminating balanced information about the most important political developments in the society. The project’s findings are determined through a well-defined and rigorous methodology and are not intended to support any one political party, but the integrity of the political and media environment as a whole.

On March 1, Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations commenced the monitoring of five TV channels (State-funded First Channel, Russia TV and TV Center; two nationwide channels NTV and Ren TV) and four newspapers (two State newspapers Rossijskaja Gazeta and Parlamentskaja Gazeta and two private newspapers Kommersant and Komsomolskaia Pravda) using qualitative and quantitative analysis. Quantitative analysis measures the total amount of time and space devoted to relevant political subjects in the monitored media outlets. The qualitative analysis evaluates whether the information about political subjects, the president and the government is positive, negative, or neutral in its content.

To date, monitoring has taken place over two periods, 1-31 March (the first monitoring period) and 1 April – 31 May (the second monitoring period). As for the print media, the monitoring covered three months – March, April and May. In the first monitoring period, CJES unveiled several disturbing trends in the way the Russian mainstream media covered political parties, the incumbent President and the government. In particular, the data showed that the monitored media neglected to offer opposition any significant airtime and opportunities to challenge the political opinions of the current establishment. In particular, the State-funded media fails comprehensively to grant opposition significant airtime to express its political views. Based on the data from the second monitoring period, it is apparent that these data are not the result of short-term anomalies, but appear to reflect genuine trends in Russian media. Following is the second of the reports that CJES will issue through the project.


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