Media of Russia
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The media of Russia is diverse, with a wide range of broadcast and print outlets are available to the consumer, offering all kinds of perspectives and catering for all tastes. In total, there are 93,000 media outlets in Russia, including 27,000 newspapers and magazines and 330 television channels. Television is the most popular source of information. There are three television channels with a nationwide outreach, and a multitude of regional channels. Local and national newspapers are the second most popular choice, while the Internet comes third. In all media spheres there is a mixture of private and state-ownership. The three nationwide television channels have been criticised for their alleged lack of neutrality. However, there is no lack of independent media in Russia, especially in print media, radio and the internet.
The organisation Reporters Without Borders compiles and publishes an annual ranking of countries based upon the organisation's assessment of their press freedom records. In 2013 Russia was ranked 148th out of 179 countries, six places below the previous year, mainly due to the return of Vladimir Putin. Freedom House compiles a similar ranking and placed Russia at number 176 out of 197 countries for press freedom for 2013, putting it level with Sudan and Ethiopia. The Committee to Protect Journalists states that Russia was the country with the 10th largest number of journalists killed since 1992, 26 of them since the beginning of 2000, including four from Novaya Gazeta. It also placed Russia at number 9 in the world for numbers of journalists killed with complete impunity.
Russia has a very wide range of print media. There are over 400 daily newspapers, covering every field, and offering all kinds of perspectives. The total number of newspapers in Russia is 8,978, and they have a total annual circulation of 8.2 billion copies. There are also 6,698 magazines and periodicals with a total annual circulation of 1.6 billion copies. Russia has the largest number of newspaper journalists in the world (102,300), followed by China (82,849) and the United States (54,134), according to statistics published by UNESCO in 2005.
Newspapers are the second most popular media in Russia, after television. Local newspapers are more popular than national ones, with 27% of Russians consulting local newspapers routinely and 40% reading them occasionally. For national newspapers, the corresponding figures are 18% and 38%, respectively.
According to figures from the National Circulation Service agency, the most popular newspaper is Argumenty i Fakty which has a circulation of 2.9 million. It is followed by Weekly Life (1.9 million), TV Guide (1.2 million) and Perm Region Izvestiya (1 million). However, only about half of all Russian newspapers are registered with the agency. Some of the leading newspapers in Russia are tabloids, including Zhizn. The most important business newspapers are Vedomosti and the influential Kommersant. Many newspapers are opposition-leaning, such as the critical Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Novaya Gazeta, which is known for its investigative journalism. The main English-language newspapers are Moscow Times and The St. Petersburg Times. 6 of the 10 most circulated Russian newspapers are based in Moscow, while the other 4 are based in other cities and regions.
- Rossiyskaya Gazeta – government-owned daily
- Izvestia – popular daily
- Komsomolskaya Pravda – mass circulation, left-leaning daily
- Trud – left-leaning daily
- Argumenty i Fakty – popular weekly
- Moskovskiye Novosti – daily. Owned by Rossiya Segodnya through the RIA Novosti news agency.
- Kommersant – daily, news and business-orientated
- Moskovskij Komsomolets – popular daily
- Nezavisimaya Gazeta – pro-opposition privately owned daily
- Novaya Gazeta – daily, known for its investigative journalism
- Vedomosti – daily financial and analytical newspaper
- RBC Daily – daily financial and analytical newspaper
- Sport Express – daily sport newspaper
- Sovetsky Sport – daily sport newspaper
- The New Times – weekly independent newspaper
- Vokrug sveta – monthly science magazine
Television is the most popular media in Russia, with 74% of the population watching national television channels routinely and 59% routinely watching regional channels. There are 330 television channels in total. 3 channels have a nationwide outreach (over 90% coverage of the Russian territory): First Channel, Rossiya and NTV. According to 2005 television ratings, the most popular channel was First Channel (22.9%), followed by Rossiya (22.6%). The survey responders' local TV company was third with a rating of 12.3%. The three national TV channels provide both news and entertainment, while the most popular entertainment-only channels are STS (10.3% rating) and TNT (6.7%). The most popular sports channel is Russia 2 (formerly Sport; rating 1.8%), while the most popular culture channel is Russia K (formerly Kultura; rating 2.5%). Russia K and Russia 2 have the third and fourth largest coverage of all Russian TV channels, with Russia K reaching 78.9% of the urban and 36.2% of the rural population and Russia 2 reaching 51.5% and 15.6%, respectively.
Two of the three main channels are majority owned by the state. First Channel is 51% publicly owned, while Rossiya is 100% state-owned through the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK). NTV is a commercial channel, but it is owned by Gazprom-Media, a subsidiary of Gazprom of which the state owns 50.002%. These three channels have often came under criticism for being biased towards the United Russia party and the Presidential Administration of Russia. They are accused of providing disproportionate and uncritical coverage of United Russia and their candidates. The channels do, however, provide large amounts of free airtime to all opposition election candidates, as required by law. During the Russian presidential election, 2008, the four presidential candidates all received 21 hours of airtime on the three main channels to debate each other and present their views. According to research conducted by Professor Sarah Oates, most Russians believe that news reporting on the three national television channels is selective and unbalanced, but view this as approriate. The responders to the study made it clear that they believe the role of state television should be to provide central authority and order in troubled times.
Main television channels
- First Channel – national, state-owned channel – news and entertainment
- Rossiya – national, state-owned channel – news and entertainment
- Zvezda – national, owned by Russian Ministry of Defense
- NTV – national 50% state-owned – news and entertainment
- Russia K – state-owned – culture and arts
- Russia 2 – state-owned, commercial
- Russia 24 – state-owned – news channel
- Petersburg – Channel 5 – state-owned – commercial
- TV Center – owned by Moscow city government – news and entertainment
- STS – commercial – entertainment
- Domashny – commercial, entertainment
- TNT – state-owned, commercial
- Ren TV – Moscow-based commercial station with strong regional network
- Russia Today – state-funded, international English-language news channel
- Dozhd – private independent news channel
- ProRussia.tv – state-owned, in French
There are three main nationwide radio stations in Russia: Radio Russia (coverage: 96.9% of the population), Radio Mayak (92.4%) and Radio Yunost (51.0%). Most radio stations focused on broadcasting music but they also offered some news and analysis. Especially famous had been the independent Gazprom-controlled station Echo of Moscow, once known for its political independence.
- Radio Russia – national network
- Radio Mayak – state-run national network
- Radio Yunost – youth station
- Echo of Moscow – news and analysis. On 18 February 2014, a shareholders' meeting replaced the station's long-serving director, Yury Fedutinov, with former the Voice of Russia's Yekaterina Pavlova, a Kremlin-loyalist in 'the latest in a series of personnel reshuffles at top state-owned media organizations that appear to point toward a tightening of Kremlin control over an already heavily regulated media landscape' the state owned RIA Novosti news agency reported the same day. The station's editor-in-chief, Alexei Venediktov, and his deputy, Vladimir Varfolomeev, were also removed from the broadcaster's board of directors. Venediktov, one of the station's founders, had written on March 11 on his Twitter account: 'Gazprommedia (owner of 66% of the broadcaster’s shares) urged the early dismissal of the radio’s board of directors and a change in independent directors'.
- Europa Plus – private national network
- Russkoye Radio – private national network
- AvtoRadio – state-owned/private national network
- Nashe Radio – rock music
- Radio Record – club/dance radio network
- Voice of Russia – (Golos Rossii) a state-run external service, broadcasting in English and other languages. (Like the RIA Novosti news agency, the broadcaster was merged into a new media agency Rossiya Segodnya, officially "to save money", under a 9 December 2013 presidential decree.)
There are approximately 400 news agencies in Russia. The three biggest news agencies in Russia are ITAR-TASS, RIA Novosti and Interfax.(Like Voice of Russia radio, RIA Novosti was merged into a new media agency Rossiya Segodnya, officially, to save money under a presidential decree of 9 December 2013). The paper's editor, Natalia Antonova, wrote in a signed article on 14 March 2014: 'If you write about Russia with any kind of nuance, you may confuse and anger many people. At first this will scare you, then it will infuriate you, then you'll get used to it.'
ITAR-TASS is a federal, state-owned news agency. It was founded in 1904. It existed throughout the Soviet period as the Soviet news agency TASS. In 1992 it was transformed into the news agency of Russia. Today it broadcasts in six languages across the world. The agency employs more than 500 correspondents in Russia and abroad. It is the biggest Russian news agency and one of four biggest world news agencies, together with Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. On a daily basis, ITAR-TASS delivers between 350 and 650 news items. The agency has the biggest archive of photos in Russia.
Rossiya Segodnya (still appearing as RIA Novosti) is another state-owned news agency. It has correspondents in 40 countries and broadcasts in 14 languages. It was founded in 1941 as the Soviet Information Bureau. In 1990 it became the Information Agency Novosti and, a year later, the Russian Information Agency - RIA Novosti, which was merged into the Rossiya Segodnya media group in early 2014. From 2007 to 2014, it published a Moscow-based, English language weekly. The paper's print edition ceased to appear after 23 January 2014 and work on the paper's website, Facebook page and Twitter account stopped on 14 March 2014. The paper's editor, Natalia Antonova, wrote in a signed article on 14 March 2014: 'If you write about Russia with any kind of nuance, you may confuse and anger many people. At first this will scare you, then it will infuriate you, then you'll get used to it.'
Interfax, a privately owned news agency, is part of the Interfax Information Services Group. The Interfax Group comprises more than 30 agencies throughout Russia, the CIS, China and several countries of central and eastern Europe. The Interfax agency was founded in 1989. It became the first non-state information channel in the Soviet Union. In 1993 it created the first in Russian news agency specialized in financial and economic information, Interfax-AFI.
Russian media agregators
- Integrum – private
- The Problem with Russia’s Free Press Today Is on the Side of Demand Russia Profile
- Amendments to the Media Law May Complicate Foreign Broadcasting in Russia Russia Profile
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- "Freedom of the Press 2013". Freedom House. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "56 Journalists Killed in Russia since 1992/Motive Confirmed". Commitee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Getting Away With Murder". Committee for the Protection of Journalists. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- BBC: The press in Russia (16 May 2008)
- "10.5. Publication of books, booklets, magazines and newspapers". Federal State Statistics Service. 2010.
- Treisman, p.358
- Oates, p.128
- Oates pp.121–122
- Oates p.118-134
- About the publication Imprint,(Russian in Cyrillic characters), Moskovskiye Novosti, Moscow.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- "19.8 Coverage by TV broadcasting". Federal Statistics Service. 2008.
- Oates p.120
- Oates, p.120
- Treisman, p.350
- Oates, p.129
- "19.7 Coverage by radio broadcasting in 2008". Federal Statistics Service. 2008.
- Oates, p.119
- Veteran Director of Liberal Russian Radio Station Ousted, RIA Novosti, Moscow, 14 February 2014.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- Russian Liberal Radio Station Faces Reshuffles Ahead of Polls, RIA Novosti, Moscow, 14 February 2014.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- RIA Novosti to Be Liquidated in State-Owned Media Overhaul, RIA Novosti, Moscow, 9 December 2013.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- The Moscow News temporarily stops publication Moscow News, Mocow, 14 March 2014.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- From your friendly editor: a goodbye and some unsolicited advice, Natalia Antonova, Moscow News website, 14 March 2014.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- European Journalism Center- Media landscape: Russia
- Print edition of The Moscow News shut down, Natalia Antonova, Moscow News, Moscow 23 January 2014.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- The Moscow News temporarily stops publication, the Moscow News, Moscow, 14 March 2014.Accessed 26 April 2014.
- Russian Media Index SMI20, a monthly quantitative review of the Russian media coverage.
- A guide to the troubled world of independent Russian media, The Calvert Journal, April 2014
- Oates, Sarah; McCormack, Gillian (2010). "The Media and Political Communication". In White, Stephen. Developments in Russian Politics 7. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-230-22449-0.
- Treisman, Daniel (2011). The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev. Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4165-6071-5.