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The Role of Media in Russian Transition Towards Democracy

Galaeva, Irina (2006)
Department of Law
Abstract
Russia is a country in transition towards democracy. However, the transition is very slow and many would say that Vladimir Putins's politics is pushing the country back to an authoritarian stage. One of the prerequisites of democracy is the possibility for the people to choose the leader. Nevertheless, democracy is much more than just being able to vote. The people of Russia are led by the man they have chosen. However, the question is whether the people were able to make a well-informed choice. One of the corner stones of democracy is the media. Traditionally, journalism has been regarded as the 'fourth estate', a central component of democracy, if necessary, a tool for the monitoring of state power and its limitation. In order for the... (More)
Russia is a country in transition towards democracy. However, the transition is very slow and many would say that Vladimir Putins's politics is pushing the country back to an authoritarian stage. One of the prerequisites of democracy is the possibility for the people to choose the leader. Nevertheless, democracy is much more than just being able to vote. The people of Russia are led by the man they have chosen. However, the question is whether the people were able to make a well-informed choice. One of the corner stones of democracy is the media. Traditionally, journalism has been regarded as the 'fourth estate', a central component of democracy, if necessary, a tool for the monitoring of state power and its limitation. In order for the citizens to be able to participate in the public debate and make decisions, they need to have an access to adequate information. The media must act as a public watchdog, to scrutiny governmental actions and to guarantee the rights of the opposition. In Russia the media is being far from free and independent. The government in one way or another is trying to secure a firm control over the media. Threats, killings and unfounded lawsuits are a part of every day life of journalists. Journalists cannot work freely, owners of the media outlets are either economically dependent on the government or have to comply with the governmental requirements in order to survive. Historically, the public has never learned to trust the media and in today's profit-minded-by-any-means reality the press is not very trustworthy either. In this hard situation there is a need for change. However, most of the changes are impossible if the government will not loosen its grip over the media. The government must not only limit its interference in the work of the media, the state must as well ensure protection of the free and pluralistic media. This protection can be economical, e.g. subsides from the state to small newspapers, or judicial, with clear and easily accessible legal provisions. Moreover, not only the printed law must be changed. The state must also guarantee foreseeable and fair judgments. The present government has not shown any attempts to improve the situation for the media. On the contrary, there are signs that the state is trying to tighten the grip justifying it with the war on terrorism. Therefore, only one conclusion can be made: if the present Russian government will not change its standing towards the media, there will be a desperate need for a change of the government. Russia is a country in transition and if it wants to become a fully developed democracy there is a need for dramatic changes for a freer and more independent media. (Less)
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author
Galaeva, Irina
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Folkrätt
language
English
id
1557675
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:21
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:21
@misc{1557675,
  abstract     = {Russia is a country in transition towards democracy. However, the transition is very slow and many would say that Vladimir Putins's politics is pushing the country back to an authoritarian stage. One of the prerequisites of democracy is the possibility for the people to choose the leader. Nevertheless, democracy is much more than just being able to vote. The people of Russia are led by the man they have chosen. However, the question is whether the people were able to make a well-informed choice. One of the corner stones of democracy is the media. Traditionally, journalism has been regarded as the 'fourth estate', a central component of democracy, if necessary, a tool for the monitoring of state power and its limitation. In order for the citizens to be able to participate in the public debate and make decisions, they need to have an access to adequate information. The media must act as a public watchdog, to scrutiny governmental actions and to guarantee the rights of the opposition. In Russia the media is being far from free and independent. The government in one way or another is trying to secure a firm control over the media. Threats, killings and unfounded lawsuits are a part of every day life of journalists. Journalists cannot work freely, owners of the media outlets are either economically dependent on the government or have to comply with the governmental requirements in order to survive. Historically, the public has never learned to trust the media and in today's profit-minded-by-any-means reality the press is not very trustworthy either. In this hard situation there is a need for change. However, most of the changes are impossible if the government will not loosen its grip over the media. The government must not only limit its interference in the work of the media, the state must as well ensure protection of the free and pluralistic media. This protection can be economical, e.g. subsides from the state to small newspapers, or judicial, with clear and easily accessible legal provisions. Moreover, not only the printed law must be changed. The state must also guarantee foreseeable and fair judgments. The present government has not shown any attempts to improve the situation for the media. On the contrary, there are signs that the state is trying to tighten the grip justifying it with the war on terrorism. Therefore, only one conclusion can be made: if the present Russian government will not change its standing towards the media, there will be a desperate need for a change of the government. Russia is a country in transition and if it wants to become a fully developed democracy there is a need for dramatic changes for a freer and more independent media.},
  author       = {Galaeva, Irina},
  keyword      = {Folkrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Role of Media in Russian Transition Towards Democracy},
  year         = {2006},
}