Friday, August 18, 2017

Putin dissolves state-run RIA Novosti, Voice of Russia radio

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree effectively dissolving state-run news agencies RIA Novosti and Voice of Russia radio.

Putin then appointed noted conservative television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov to head the formation of a new state media outlet, "Russia Today," which has been charged with the task of providing coverage of Russian state policy, Al Jazeera reports.

The decision to consolidate RIA Novosti and the Voice of Russia radio into an entirely new entity was made in order to cut costs and streamline state media's operations.

"Russia has its own independent politics and strongly defends it's national interests," Putin's Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said, according to Al Jazeera. "We must tell the truth, make it accessible to the most people and use modern language and the best available technologies in doing so."

Kiselyov's appointment to head "Russia Today" has drawn criticism from throughout the Russian journalism community. The former anchor has been known for expressing anti-gay and anti-American sentiments on the air, and most recently, his comments from an August news segment that organs from homosexuals were not fit for transplant and should be burned caused a national uproar.

RIA Novosti first opened in Moscow in 1941 as the Soviet Information Bureau. Prior to its dissolution, it was one of the largest international news agencies in the world, with operations in 14 languages, Al Jazeera reports.