Tags: Russia | bombing | news | netwroks

Russian Networks: No Bombing News For Hours

Thursday, 01 Apr 2010 10:36 AM


The news of the subway suicide bombings in Moscow on Monday — Russia's worst terrorist attack in five years — led news broadcasts around the world almost immediately after the event unfolded.

But in Russia, viewers who tuned in to the country's three main television networks that morning had little reason to suspect anything was amiss — they were watching shows about cooking and makeovers.

The networks, all of which are controlled by the government or state-owned companies, stayed with their regularly scheduled programming as the tragedy unfolded, waiting for up to two hours to provide their first substantive reports on the attacks, which killed at least 39 people.

Bloggers and political commentators say the slow response of the networks — Channel One, Rossia 1 and NTV — is indicative of the state of television journalism in Russia today: the major broadcasters have been so cowed by the Kremlin over the past decade, they're incapable of effectively covering events of vital national importance. (See pictures of the suicide bombings in Moscow.)

"This is a city with millions of people," says Arina Borodina, a television critic with the independent-minded Kommersant newspaper in Moscow. "Can you imagine an attack during rush hour in New York or Paris, and a television channel doesn't show anything for two hours?"

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2010-36-01
Thursday, 01 Apr 2010 10:36 AM
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