EDITORIAL: Putin, Predator of the Press


Putin, Predator of the Press

Reporters without Borders has come out with a list of the 40 worst “predators of the press” on the planet, and unsurprisingly both Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov are on it.

Here’s what RWB has to say about Putin:

President from 2000 to 2008 and now prime minister for the past two years, Vladimir Putin continues to make his influence felt in the Kremlin. Strong leadership from the top in all areas of society has been his guiding principle in the reconstruction of a strong state after the years of confusion and dilution of authority under Boris Yeltsin. The press has not been spared. “Control” is the key word for this former KGB officer: control of the state, control of the economic and political forces, control of geopolitical strategic interests and control of the media. The national TV stations now speak with a single voice.

Independent journalists and human rights activists are exposed to considerable danger, especially in the North Caucasus. Five journalists were murdered in 2009. Twenty-two have been murdered since 2000. President Medvedev has recognised the existence of political murders for the first time. The Nashi (Ours), a young patriotic guard created by the Kremlin in 2005 at the behest of Putin and others who lament Russia’s imperial decline, sues newspapers critical of the Soviet past or the current government when it is not staging actual manhunts. As well as manipulating groups and institutions, Putin has promoted a climate of pumped-up national pride that encourages the persecution of dissidents and freethinkers and fosters a level of impunity that is steadily undermining the rule of law.

Ouch.  Putin being lumped together with the likes of Kadyrov, and avowed murderer of jouranalist, and the Taliban in Afghanistan is one of the lowest moments of Russian history since Putin first came to power. The people of Russia ought to be ashamed, but what they’ll actually do is lash out in frenzy against the “racists” and “Russophobes” at one of the world’s most well-respected journalist rights organizations.

The Kremlin, of course, rejected any possibility that Putin could be a press predator, lashing out with typical blind frenzy.  In a new low in neo-Soviet stupidity, Putin’s press secretary declared the conclusion “absolutely wrong” even though he admitted he had no idea what the criteria were.  He ignored the fact, that, as we reported recently, RWB is far from the only organization that has concluded Russia is one of the world’s worst oppressors of the media.

So as usual, Russia will recklessly ignore this data regarding the decline of civilization in Russia, and will go on sinking into the depths of barbarism exactly the way the USSR did.  A mature, confident, forward-looking, civilized nation would admit, in Russia’s shoes, that it had as serious problem with press repression and take steps to reform.

But Vladimir Putin’s Russia is no such country.

8 responses to “EDITORIAL: Putin, Predator of the Press

  1. @Putin being lumped together with the likes of Kadyrov

    Kadyrov is just mini-Putin. Nothing less, nothing more. Putin is his mentor and his adopted father.


    Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the allegation was “deeply erroneous.”

    “During the last 10 years, Vladimir Putin did a lot to make mass media more economically independent and therefore more free,” Peskov said, RIA-Novosti reported.


  2. @unsurprisingly both Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov

    Quite surprisingly actually, as Russia is the only one country in the world to feature 2 “predators”.

    Or maybe they just de-facto indicated Chechnya is not really Russia, and just occupied territory. No matter the facade.

  3. Radio station co-director killed in Makhachkala


  4. The slick media image that RWB presents to the world, such as using the term “predators,” is no accident. It is the product of RWB’s ad agency. Announcing the list of 40 on May 3 on their website, RWB states, “The list of Predators of Press Freedom is released today, backed by a campaign ad produced by the Saatchi & Saatchi agency . . . There are 40 names on this year’s list of predators . . . that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.”

    Saatchi & Saatchi is one of the world’s most influential “hidden persuaders” or PR firms. They are credited with the campaign that brought Margaret Thatcher to power and are the ad firm for Gordon Brown’s Labour Party. Clients have included Citigroup, Hewlett-Packard, DuPont, Proctor & Gamble. One might ask where RWB gets the finances to hire such elite advisors?

    The most interesting question is not the deeds of Hu Jintao or Putin or Ahmadinejad in the last year in relation to their national press, but rather who is judging these leaders. We might well ask, “Who judges the judges?” The answer is Washington.

    Reporters Without Borders is an international non-governmental organization (NGO). According to its website, it is headquartered in Paris, France. Paris is a curious home base for an organization that, as it turns out, is financed by the US Congress and by agencies tied to the US government.

    If we go to the RWB website to find who stands behind these self-anointed judges of world press freedom, we find nothing. Not even their board of directors are named, let alone their financial backers. Their annual published income and expenditure statements give no clue who stands behind them financially.

    Millions of dollars of their annual income are disclosed as being from “sale of publications.” It does not name the publications or to whom they were sold. As one researcher noted, “Even taking into account that the books are published for free, it would have had to sell 170,200 books in 2004 and 188,400 books in 2005 to earn the more than $2 million the organization claims to make each year -­ 516 books per day in 2005. The money clearly had to come from other sources, as it turns out it did.” An attempt to go on the RWB website to order any of their publications found no link to any purchasing information nor any price listings or book summary. Very curious indeed.

    In their official financial statements and income accounts published in September 2009, they state: “The organisation’s finances in 2008 were marked by the end of the campaign (begun in 2001) over the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games which significantly affected income and expenditure.” That means RWB spent eight years and undisclosed amounts of money campaigning against the government of China in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics. For what purpose? Notably, the RWB names China’s president, Hu Jintao, as this year’s ‘predator’ for his actions in cracking down on unrest in Tibet in March 2010 and Xinjiang in July 2009, both of which were the covert work of a US-financed NGO called National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Hmm.

    After years of trying to hide it, Robert Menard, Paris-based Secretary-General of Reporters Sans Frontieres or RWB, confessed that the RWB budget was primarily funded by “US organizations strictly linked to US foreign policy.” Those US organizations behind RWB include the Open Society Foundation of billionaire speculator George Soros, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Congress’ National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Also included is the Center for Free Cuba, whose trustee, Otto Reich, was forced to resign from the George W. Bush administration after exposure of his role in a CIA-backed coup attempt against Venezuela’s democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez.

    As one researcher found after months of trying to get a reply from NED about their funding of Reporters Without Borders, which included a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute. The IRI is one of four subsidiaries of NED.

    • Cool story bro.

    • Hey Elutherios, shouldn’t you be out with the communist protesters in Athens burning down banks and murdering pregnant women while trying to destroy their countries economy?

      • Except Greece right now has no economy. In the last 2 decades they spent more effort on what they thought was more important stuff, like constantly bullying their tiny neighbour state of Macedonia. (Macedonia has economy.)

        And they can’t stop even now. Just last month:

        Should Macedonian authorities reject this proposal, “it will be up to them to explain to their people why the country’s European perspective has been withheld,” Droutsas said on the same occasion, as quoted by Macedonian MIA news agency.

        But I bet he will return to tell us how the Greek bankrupcy unrest was “the covert work of a US-financed NGO called National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Hmm.”

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