2008 December 29 Monday
Russian Media Can Not Acknowledge Financial Crisis

Does ignoring the financial crisis make it less severe? In other words, is there any economic benefit from the censorship?

MOSCOW (Reuters) - When a Russian sociologist wrote a newspaper column last month suggesting the global financial crisis could cause social unrest, the state media watchdog advised the paper not to spread extremist sentiments.

"This is censorship," said Yevgeny Gontmakher, the author of the column and the head of the Academy of Science's Social Policy Center. "The situation in the country is changing; you can no longer utter the word 'crisis'."

The control exercised by the authoritarian press-controlling regime in Russia would have been more justifiable if the Russians had managed to clamp down on the excesses of their own boom. They could have kept more money abroad to limit the size of the boom and make more money available after the popping of the bubble. Also, they could have shifted the ruble's value downward to boost the development of a manufacturing economy in spite of the oil boom. But they didn't. Not so impressive.

Police in European Union member Latvia jailed an academic for two days for saying in an online debate people should not trust the banks, and launched a case against a singer who made similar comments at a concert.

The European Union has a long way to go before it has press freedoms as strong as in America.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 December 29 03:30 PM  Russia

Anonymous said at December 29, 2008 4:57 PM:

We have a controlled press too. New stories that are inconvenient to liberalism are dropped quickly or are not allowed to go national. They're kept local. For example, how many know what "Sock on Mexican" means ? Over 80 Black-on-Mexican group beating attacks in one town alone. Suppressed in the MSM. Google: "Sock on Mexican" Pasadena

We do it too. It's not just Russia.

Anon said at December 30, 2008 10:22 AM:

Gontmakher should consider himself lucky. Other journalists who have written things that the Russian state(Putin) didn't like have been mysteriously killed in a variety of bizarre accidents like shooting themselves in the back 5 times and then once again in the head or falling on a knife 30 times in a freak potato peeling mishap.

Wolf-Dog said at December 30, 2008 10:53 AM:

Don't forget the occasional careless polonium ingestion accidents also:


If you get decapitated by Al Qaeda, you suffer at most for a minute, but when Litvinenko accidentally mixed polonium to his tea instead of saccharine, he suffered for several weeks under indescribably painful conditions.

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