/ HOW THE NEWS IS REPORTED IN RUSSIA, JUNE 2012
How the News is Reported in Russia June 2012 by Andrei Nesterov editorial support by Margaret Godwin-Jones
The two largest state-run television stations in Russia are First Channel and Russia Channel. Most Russians get their news from one of these two stations. SRAS's Andrei Nesterov compiled the following synopsis of how major events were covered by news reports on these two stations. This news review is part of SRAS's monthly "obzor" publications. For more reviews, see the newsletter for this corresponding month. If you would like to request that a story be covered here, inform our editor.
We are now providing weblinks to the related stories from the Russian broadcasters when available online! If no link is available, the material was covered in broadcasts, but not posted (or at least not found by us) online.
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June, Week 4
First Channel reported on the growing number of violent incidents on the streets of Moscow involving young people from the Caucasus region. They get involved in fights and carry weapons, First Channel stated.
The police searched the dormitory of the Theology Academy where the young Caucasus natives who shot and stabbed young Russian young men near Evropeisky mall, and found 22 guns, Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported.
On Kutuzovsky prospect, a group of young people from the Caucasus was detained, and the police found guns and drugs with them. Also, First Channel reported that the wife of a Chechen official had threatened the lives of young people who tried to put a sticker on her car windshield for violating parking regulations.
First Channel concluded the report by stating that such young people from the Caucasus region “lack the skills of proper behavior.”
Medvedev Visits Chechnya
First Channel reported that during his visit to the North Caucasus region, Prime Minister Medvedev discussed measures for eradicating unemployment and a plan for developing tourism in the region. Tourism will focus on alpine skiing and the beautiful landscapes of the Caucasus. There are plans to built 19 alpine skiing tracks with total length of 50 kilometers.
In total, 1,700 billion rubles (about 52.55 billion USD) will be allocated by the government for developing the North Caucasus region. The investment, according to Russia Channel, is to reduce unemployment from the current 16 percent to five percent by 2025.
First Channel stated that Russia's national soccer team performed with “a strange feeling of doom” when at least three players had a chance to score goals against their Greek opponents, but missed.
First Channel named several causes for the loss, such as the decision to replace the national team coach before the European Cup, and an underestimation of the Greek team and other teams within the group with which the Russians were competing.
Coach Dick Advocate said that the Russian team “was not bold enough when attacking,” while soccer veteran Victor Ponedelnik stated that the Russian players had not demonstrated real teamwork. http://www.1tv.ru/news/sport/209616 In another report, First Channel stated that “never had Russian team fans experienced such disappointment,” and reported that fans accused the players of “not being dedicated enough.”
Coach Dick Advocate stated that in a TV interview that “Our team has no star players” and “lacked the high-class qualifications” need to defeat the Greeks.
First Channel reproached the Russian team for "striving toward luxury and wealth" – the team stayed in the most expensive hotel in the center of Warsaw, and the players had the highest salary among their peers from the group. The salary of coach Dick Advocate – 7 million Euros per year – is much higher than the salary of the coach of any other team.
Official Apologizes to Opposition Journalist
Russian Channel reported that Aleksandr Bastrykin, the Head of the Investigative Committee, apologized to the journalists of the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta for an incident in which the official had threatened a newspaper reporter. Bastrykin attributed his behavior to “a nervous breakdown.” Earlier, the media reported that Bastrykin took reporter Sergey Sokolov into a forest outside Moscow and there threatened his life. Bastrykin had taken offence to an critical article written by Sokolov.
President Putin was quoted by major Russian new sources as stating that the new law setting higher penalties for unauthorized rallies, “does not have any provisions which are tougher than the ones in similar laws of other European countries.”
According to a Russia Channel report, the new law passage was accompanied by scandals – 20 activists of Yabloko party organized unauthorized picketing at the Duma building, while members of the Just Russia Party and Communist Party fractions in the Duma introduced 400 amendments to the bill in an effort draw out debate indefinitely.
Later, the Just Russia party fraction left the Duma hall in protest, and the Communists vowed to collect signatures and appeal to the Constitutional Court.
Russia Channel showed Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov denouncing the new law. He said that “there are no such disgusting laws in the West,” and that, when comparing the fines for participating in unauthorized rallies with fines in other countries, Russian authorities ignore the fact that incomes in Russia are much lower than in France or Germany. Also, Zyuganov said that the law was passed in haste, as only 15 seconds was given for reading each amendment to the law. “If the same policy continues, you should expect trouble in autumn,” stated the Communist leader.
Russia Channel reported that five more suspects were detained in relation to the disturbances at the protest on Bolotnaya Square on May 6. The channel cited two examples of violence on the part of rally participants: a 20-year old man allegedly knocked down a policeman and broke his finger; and another man threw a stone at the policemen. “Law-enforcers continue to detain rally participants,” Russia Channel emphasized.
Politicians Discuss Stricter Penalties for Unauthorized Rallies
After heated public and Duma discussion, a new bill on rallies was passed. Fines for organizers of unsanctioned rallies were raised to one million rubles (31,200 USD) from the previous 300,000 rubles (9,400 USD). The new bill prohibits wearing masks or other items hiding a person’s face while participating in rallies. Guy Fawkes masks, ski masks, and scarves worn around the mouth have been worn by many participants to protect their identity. Regular rally participants face a minimum fine of 20,000 rubles (625 USD).
First Channel stated that this amount is lower than in many other countries; in Spain, for example, participants in an unauthorized rally can be fined 300 Euros, and some countries, such as France, one can be imprisoned for violations related to rallies. First Channel didn't mention that the law provides for fines of up to to 300,000 rubles ($9,000) for protestors, however.
Russia Channel quoted Gennady Zyuganov, leader of Communist party, as saying that the new bill is in fact “arbitrary rule,” and that it does not specify the grounds for imposing fines. Russia Channel also reported that most Russian human rights activists oppose the bill.
The Channel also carried a report that the rallies are continuing.