Censorship of English language Russian media?

David McDuff points to what he sees as a trend towards censorship of English language translations of Russian media reports.

With the Kremlin’s increasing stranglehold on the flow of information out of Russia, it’s becoming evident that English-language versions of Russian press reports and commentaries, especially if they come from sources outside government control, are being subjected to cutting and censorship of various kinds. An example is Yulia Latynina’s recent column on the Kremlin’s "information block", which appeared in several publications,including Moscow Times.

This is most likely to be self-censorship by news organisations, rather than the heavy hand of an official censor but nonetheless, if true, this would be an extremely worrying development. 

Having said that though, while I can see good reasons why the Kremlin might want to control the flow of information out of Russia, I can’t understand why they would let the same information be published in the Russian language media.  Every English language media organisation, and every major company investing in Russia worth their salt will employ people to sift through the Russian language press as well as English language translations, so censorship of this kind is unlikely to actually stem the flow of information in any practical sense.

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1 Response

  1. David McDuff says:

    It’s doubtful whether Western companies investing in Russia pay much attention to independent Russian journalism of the kind that is practiced by Latynina, Radzikhovsky, Politkovskaya, Albats, Babitsky and others. They and their advisers are much more likely to swallow the picture presented by Russia’s increasingly state-controlled MSM.

    On the other hand, even though a publication like EJ may only be read by a few, the content of the articles it publishes – only in Russian – is of great significance to human rights NGOs, both in Russia and abroad. I’d suggest that it’s the dissemination of this kind of information that the Kremlin fears and tries to counter, mostly without much success.