Bringing Plurality & Balance to Russian Language Media - Final Recommendations
“Russia is inside Europe”, Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer prize winning journalist, author and Eastern Europe expert, warned the audience of government representatives listening to the final EED report on Russian language media. In Germany alone, she added, 3-4 million Russians are watching the Kremlin-aligned Pervyi Kanal TV. The aggressive language from Russia is “stronger than ever since the end of the cold war, and sometimes even more than during it.”
Recalling a discussion with colleagues about “where to take our children once the Russians invade”, Rita Rudusa, news and documentaries editor at Latvian Public TV, described the need for what she dubbed a “content factory” - a cooperative of regional broadcasters, jointly commissioning quality programmes in Russian. Once produced for the “factory”, a programme would be available to all members free of charge.
The content factory is one of five “building blocks” the media experts and authors of the study propose to strengthen Russian language media in the region:
- A regional Russian language news hub to share high-quality news, on a membership of affiliate basis. As a “proto” news agency, it could also collect citizen journalist and stringer material, as well as facilitate collaborative investigations, fact checking and translations.
- The above mentioned “content factory” of quality documentaries and entertainment, including film, drama and social reality shows, focusing on local issues. Commissioning and buying content, it could be a “market-place” of programming for the Russian-language media.
- A centre for media excellence that coordinates market research, specialised professional training, media monitoring and media literacy programmes , as well as peer-to-peer exchange.
- A basket fund bringing together government and nongovernmental funding.
- And bringing all blocks together:A future multimedia distribution platform, with a global brand, to ensure that the produced content reaches the widest possible audience.
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