The Union of Journalists of Russia convened a National Media Forum
in Moscow in mid-January to discuss developments in journalism.
Dmitry Muratov, chief editor of the independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta
, spoke about the growing influence of the Internet, calling it a “media amplifier,” with whose help society is able to move the government to action.
Using the death of human rights lawyer Sergei Magnitsky
as an example, Muratov said, “To date, there’s no more potent amplifier than the Internet. This is how I think of it myself. On the Internet a serious discussion surfaces, the theme is taken up by blogs… In the blogs – Live Journal, mail.ru - the issue of Magnitsky, for example, is at the top, and the Internet community becomes like an extremely active volcanic mass. In this way public opinion forms and exerts a serious influence on the powers-that-be. For an Internet user to avoid it, forget it, pretend that he or she didn’t read it, is simply not possible. It seems to me that this is a very important thing – first-order information, its circulation and its embrace by the Internet. The Internet doesn’t wait for the mail to get the newspaper to Khabarovsk. The Internet reacts immediately.”
Vladislav Fronin, chief editor of Rossiiskaya Gazeta
, spoke about disunity within the journalistic community, lamenting that while differing points of view don’t prevent opposition and pro-government media heads from being friends, the media tend to solve their professional problems on their own. Fronin also challenged the view that his newspaper is dependent on the government, insisting that it relies first and foremost on its readers. “Finances are provided by the budget. But who funds the budget? The taxpayer...if Rossiiskaya Gazeta
gets money from the budget, then the Russian citizen should direct the music – that’s who pays the taxes and supports the militia and the army. And this is as it should be, because to serve this reader is a singular pleasure.”
Originally reported by Elena Polyakovskaya, RFE/RL Russian Service.