RFE RL Points to Comprehensive Coverage

FreeMediaOnline.org Logo. FreeMediaOnline.org & Free Media Online Blog, September 15, 2009, San Francisco — We have reported earlier that Radio Liberty’s Russian Service, Radio Svoboda, website had ignored for a number of days the news story of Conde Nast censorship of a critical article about Mr. Putin by Scott Anderson. The article was banned by Conde Nast executives in New York from the Russian edition of the GQ magazine in Russia and from GQ websites, including its American website.

After FreeMediaOnline.org published its report pointing out limited coverage by Russian websites of both Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, VOA, both broadcasting stations devoted a lot of attention to the GQ story, albeit several days after it had been first reported by NPR on September 4, and after independent bloggers in the US and in Russia had already translated the censored article into Russian and posted it online.

We also reported that self-censorship could have been responsible for the initial lack of coverage of this story by Radio Liberty’s Russian website and that both RFE/RL and VOA have been negatively affected by program cuts and marketing strategies imposed on them by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the BBG.

FreeMediaOnline.org has received today an email from Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, RFE/RL, showing that its reporting has indeed been comprehensive, starting September 7.

From RFE/RL email:

I wanted to make sure you were aware of some of the comprehensive coverage RFE/RL’s Russian Service has been giving the story of the 10-year anniversary of the apartment bombings in Buinaksk. Much of this coverage was planned by the Russian Service well before the recent scandal that broke out after Conde Nast decided not to publish Scott Anderson’s report in its Russian edition of “GQ”. You’ll note that the Service interviewed Mr. Trepashkin, the source for Anderson’s article, on its “Facets of Time” program on September 4:

“Time of Liberty” call-in interview show:
September 4: Report and analysis on the 10-th anniversary of the blast in Buinaksk. Mumin Shakirov reporting, including Q&A with Y.Felstinskiy (co-author of the book of alternative investigation of the blasts in the Russian cities), L.Levinson (member of the parliamentary investigative commission), I.Trunov (lawyer of the victims’ families).

September 7: Reports and analysis of the scandal over Russian GQ’s refusal to publish Scott Anderson’s article “Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise To Power”. V.Morozov reporting including Q&A with Jane Kirtley, a professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota; Y.Zhigalkin – Q&A with Arch Puddington, Vice President of Research at rights watchdog Freedom House.

September 7: V.Bode report including Q&A with L.Levinson and head of “Memorial” A.Tcherkasov. 07.09.2009

September 8: Reports and analysis on the 10-th anniversary of the blast of the building on the Gurjanova street in Moscow. O.Vakhonitcheva reporting including Q&A with witnesses. 08.09.2009

September 8: Reports and analysis on the 10-th anniversary of the blast of the building on the Gurjanova street in Moscow. O.Kusov report including Q&A with witnesses.

September 8: Archive report from the place of the blast of the building on the Gurjanova street in Moscow. M.Shakirov.

“Facets of Time” talk show.
September 4: 10-years from the blasts in the Russian cities: questions remained. Host – V.Kara-Murza. Guests – M.Trepashkin, independent investigator of the blasts in the Moscow buildings in 1999, V.Borshyov – member of the parliamentary investigative commission in 2002-2003, V.Bukovsky – prominent Soviet dissident and human rights activist, L.Ponomaryov – prominent Russian human rights activist.

September 7: Extracts from Scott Anderson’s article “Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise To Power” are available on the Russian RFERL website (with a lot of reader’s comments).

Several other reports providing a comprehensive look into the unexplained bombings ten years ago have been or will also be broadcast by the Russian Service, including reporting on the blasts in Moscow (13.09.2009) and in Volgodonsk (16.09.2009). All the memorial events will be covered by reports, analysis, internet journalism, commentaries, blogging and so on. The Service is also covering the public campaign in support of the Anderson’s article in Russian blogosphere (rubric “Webtalks” in “Time of Liberty”, planned 09.09.2009)

Best, Martins
Martins Zvaners
RFE/RL, Inc.
tel: 202.457.6948
mob: 202.841.7712