Russia Government and Media
World Press Freedom Rank: Russia 149/180 (2019)
According to Reporters without Borders, Russia is a “Stifling atmosphere for independent journalists.” The report states “Leading independent news outlets have either been brought under control or throttled out of existence. As TV channels continue to inundate viewers with propaganda, the climate has become very oppressive for those who question the new patriotic and neo-conservative discourse, or just try to maintain quality journalism.”
Government Influence on Media: In 2008 the Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Communications was established and tasked with regulating mass media, communications and IT activities in coordination with four subordinated federal agencies (Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications; Federal Agency on IT; Federal Agency of Communications and Federal Control Service in the Sphere of Communications; IT and Mass Communications). According to a BBC report “Laws allow the authorities to block websites without explanation, require popular bloggers to register with the mass media regulator Roskomnadzor and demand that internet companies give the authorities access to users’ information.”
In general, the majority of news consumption comes from three state controlled national networks that routinely promote pro-Kremlin misinformation and conspiracy theories. Further, The Kremlin applies official labels to outside media groups such as “foreign agent,” “undesirable,” or “extremist” to any organization that challenges the government line. Finally, according to the Guardian, after Putin assumed the Presidency in 2000, he forced all the major TV channels to submit to his will. Oligarch owners were either co-opted, jailed or exiled, and by 2006 most major Russian media were either directly or indirectly under Putin’s administration’s control. They also report that “The editors-in-chief of all the major media in Russia attend regular “strategy meetings” with Putin’s staffers.
In summary, the state has significant control over the media.