Russian strongman Vladimir Putin today dissolved the country’s state-run RIA Novosti and its Voice of Russia radio unit in a consolidation move that eliminates the sole outlet willing to criticize the Kremlin, according to the BBC.
The Russian Government said the move is being made to save money and make state media more effective. Right-O.
Putin’s statement cuts to the chase. The revamped media outlet will become a handy propaganda tool, or his mouthpiece “to highlight abroad the state policy and public life of the Russian Federation.”
RIAN today tread lightly in its obituary, reporting the shutdown appears to “point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector.”
The Obama White House, which is no friend of a free-wheeling press in the U.S., is close-mouthed regarding Putin’s crackdown.
Vice President Joe Biden, however, roundly criticized China’s control over the press while he traveled there last week.
Straight-talking Biden told the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing that innovation thrives “where people breathe freely, speak freely, are able to challenge orthodoxy, where newspapers can report the truth without fear of consequences.”
He also took the issue up during face-to-face sessions with President Xi Jinping, though Biden candidly admitted that the Chinese bigwig wasn’t overly impressed with his concern.
Obama is currently locked into disagreements with Russia about Syria and Putin’s bid to return Ukraine into a Soviet Union-like dependency on Russia.
He should add freedom of the press to the menu of gripes with Putin.
Omnicom’s Ketchum handles PR for control-freak Putin and his government.