Sunday, April 15, 2007

PRAVDA Takes The Safe Way Out In Putin's Russia

As Vladimir Putin grows increasingly tightfisted with his power in Russia, PRAVDA takes a safe course with a largely tabloid style.

This weekend former world champion chess player and critic of the Putin regime, Gary Kasparov was arrested. It is yet another reminder to critics of the Putin regime not to question the government which has centralized more power in Putin's hands and eliminated many lower level elective offices since he assumed control in Russia. The press operates in fear, and thusly focuses on many things that will not cause problems with the government.

PRAVDA was once the Soviet government's official propaganda mouthpiece, but is now run by independent journalists. But these journalists often avoid most hard news and instead focus on a largely tabloid format, with a feature last week including nude photos of popular Russian TV and film actresses. This isn't your father's PRAVDA. But then again PRAVDA is taking the safe way out by avoiding conflict and possible arrest from the Putin regime. And nothing better avoids hard news than a format rich with "cheesecake" journalism.

It is unfortunate that a free press does not really exist to check the government in Russia. It is also unfortunate when many conservatives despise the free press in the United States, especially given where the lack of a free press has brought Russia so far.

Maybe the Bush regime is somewhat pleased when the American press becomes obsessed with Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, Paris Hilton or even Don Imus, as it takes pressure off their policies including Iraq and their attempts to grab power in this country, virtually mirroring the strongarm efforts of Putin in some ways.

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