The re-Sovietisation of Russia gathers pace.
MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin has decreed the creation of an agency to regulate the media and the Internet, sparking fears among some Russian journalists of a bid to extend tight publishing controls to the relatively free Web.
Putin signed a decree this week merging two existing agencies into one that will license broadcasters, newspapers and Web sites and oversee their editorial content.
The step, taken with national elections due next year, unites the organization supervising media and culture, Rosokhrankultura, with the federal body controlling telecommunications and information technology, Rossvyaznadzor.
Officials said this would improve efficiency by putting a single entity in charge of media content and technology, but some of Russia’s top journalists expressed concern.
Under Putin’s rule, independent publishers have mostly been taken over by Kremlin-friendly businessmen. The domestic media are under heavy pressure not to criticize the government, making journalists suspicious of any official initiative.