(Washington Post) (By Robert Orttung and Christopher Walker) With a surprise decree Dec. 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin shut down RIA Novosti, the massive, state-controlled news agency, and replaced it with an entity that will be overseen by Margarita Simonyan, the head of “RT,” Russia’s international propaganda arm, and Dmitry Kiselyov, an odious television presenter.
Officially, the Kremlin described the change as a way to “provide information on Russian state policy and Russian life and society for audiences abroad.” But this shake-up is better understood as the latest Kremlin effort to reassert control over its domestic mass media. RIA Novosti had a growing reputation for pursuing independent and analytical reporting. Putin’s patience wore out.
And Putin’s Russia is only one of an increasing number of authoritarian regimes that has effectively retooled its strategy of controlling the media. […]
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See the related article by Robert Orttung and Christopher Walker in the Journal of Democracy: "Breaking the News: The Role of State-Run Media"