June 29, 2010 / 8:22 PM / 10 years ago

Veteran Russian editor: state seeks media control

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A veteran Russian newspaper editor said Tuesday the authorities were trying harder than ever to control what appears in the press.

Kommersant Publishing House editor Andrei Vasilyev is stepping down soon after more than two decades in top positions.

“It seems to me that the authorities are moving ever closer to direct management of the press,” Vasilyev said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.

He said this was something that Kommersant, a prominent business daily that is the publisher’s flagship paper, “did not feel” until recently.

“I am not talking about horrors like the loss of the freedom of speech,” he said. “But the authorities increasingly want to see a press that is comfortable for them.”

“It seems to me that ... the information flow that we rely upon is very much regulated, very much filtered,” he said.

Vasilyev gave few details, but he lamented that coverage of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “is the same in all the papers.”

Medvedev and Putin dominate television news and receive lavish coverage in many Russian newspapers.

Putin’s 2000-2008 presidency brought a crackdown on independent media, television in particular, and few newspapers are openly critical of the Kremlin.

Reporting by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Peter Graff

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