1Lessons from RussiaA Neo-Authoritarian Media SystemEuropean Journal Of Communication, June 2004Communication, June 2004Current CriticsRussia is one of five countries on the International Press Institute’s Watch List of countries ‘endangered with becoming repressive’ (International Press Institute)Current CriticsPresident Putin made the Committee to Protect Journalists’ ‘Ten Worst Enemies of the Press’ list for 2001, joining an ignominious group including Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Liberian president Charles Taylor, Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe and Cuban leader Fidel Castro (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2002).In its 2001 annual report, the media rights organization Reporters sans Fronti`eresdescribed Putin’s anti-media actions as ‘too grotesque to be true’, and they named him one of the world’s ‘predators of press freedom’
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2Democratic Media SystemsIt is the responsibility of a mass political media system to provide information to citizens to participate in processes of governance.In such a system, the population must have access to the media; there must be a significant degree of pluralism in all media, either internal or external; the press should reflect different views and ideologies; and the press must not be under the control of the state or under the control ofsuch a limited number of private owners that pluralism is limited.Democratic Media Systems Negatives Within Russian Media…increasing ‘soft news’ and infotainment, stultifying notions of objectivity, overreliance on ‘official sources’ and excessive cynicism. Many of these phenomena are linked to the growing media concentration in corporate hands and cumulatively, they are hypothesized to have a negative impact on civic engagementDemocratic Media Systems Positives Within Russian Media…in pre-Putin Russia media concentration strengthened the capacity of commercial stations to ‘compete with, and challenge governmentally managed news’. It was the commercial stations ‘large enough and strong enough’ that maintained ‘a comprehensive newsgathering and broadcast capacity that best fulfills the medium’s public service obligations’