Quarter of Russian media faces closure: Journalists union

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Moscow, Feb 6 (IANS/TASS) Nearly a quarter of Russian newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television channels may have to close down this year as a result of the government’s “ill-considered policy” against the media, Moscow Union of Journalists head Pavel Gusev said Friday.

According to union statistics, 60,000 traditional media outlets exist in Russia today, 40,000 of them print publications, gathering an average audience of 100 million.

“Ill-considered state policy against traditional media has resulted in a crisis in the entire information sphere,” Gusev said.

“This year, about 20-25 percent of the media will disappear, making it difficult for our citizens to access socially significant, ideologically and politically important information. Rising prices will only make the situation worse while destructive attacks on journalists by lay people and incompetent bloggers will only grow,” he added

Gusev said that all types media in Russia “are facing their deepest crisis now”.

“A great number of newspaper kiosks were shut down over the past year, and, as a consequence, this small business segment was eliminated,” he said, adding that subscriptions for many publications had fallen by 80 percent in the past six months.

Meanwhile, “many countries understand the important role of printed newspapers and magazines in ensuring the information security of a state given that 60-70 percent of people going to the polls are readers of print media and television viewers, and not internet surfers,” the union head added.