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November 15, 2003Media Moguls and Putin Power. At WSIS, a key media issue will be how commercial motivation and state power impact on press freedom.
Russia is a prime case study. Less than a decade ago,in the Yeltsin era, journalists complained about media tycoons being protected by government. Now, under Putin, as the state is accused of veering towards Soviet-style interventions, it's a different story. Journalists and commercial media bosses fighting on the same side.
But it's not a satisfactory situation, says Andrei Vasilyev, Editor of Commerziant one of three dailies owned by tycoon-in-exile, London-based Boris Berezovsky. "A newspaper with claims to objectivity and independence cannot allow its editorial policy to be affected by its owner's relations with the Kremlin".
Putin, though, can point to research showing that 55% of Russians favour the State President strengthening his control over the media. 15 all.