Chechen PR on Russian Internet

Much was said about the role of the mass media in the recent hostage drama in Moscow; it was specially stressed that majority of media outlets, including those online, played into the hands of the terrorists. Actions of the mass media under the emergency conditions forced Russian Duma deputies to introduce changes into the RF legislation. The Ministry for Press issued its own instructions concerning actions of mass media in similar emergency situations.

However, today when the danger is already behind us, it is absolutely unacceptable to explain some faults of journalists with the fact that they never had the experience of working under emergency conditions. Important conclusions seem to have been reached. Is it possible that mistakes were made intentionally?

The above-mentioned above words are the pretext to what is to be said below. The other day, I came across a Runet.Ru publication under the headline “FSB Closes Chechen.Ru Site.” The author of the article informed that the Chechen.Ru site, the one which published “an alternative view of the recent events in Moscow,” was closed. And the Chechen terrorists who held hundreds of hostages in the Moscow theatre were described in the article in a poetical manner, as “desperate heroes.”

The Runet.Ru publication says: “The terrorists are described as heroes in the article “They Reached Moscow” by Anastasiya Drozdova. The article begins with the words: “They reached Moscow, this is the main result of a desperate action of the young commander.”

You may certainly think: “God be with you, Chechen.Ru! It’s no big deal that this site actually existed at all. It should have been closed long ago; instead, the article is just an additional advertising to the site on the Runet.”

Let's continue. Very soon, the Runet.Ru author brings the article to a conclusion, and he does it in a manner that makes you fall into a stupor. “The site Kavkaz-Center (and a link to the front page of the site is given here) informs that Chechen.Ru was closed by the FSB for publication of this very article on October 28. You can read a complete version of the article on the Kavkaz-Center server (and a link to the article itself is given here).”

It is incredible that the article, which itself consists only of two and a half paragraphs, gives two links to the website of Chechen terrorists! Was it done for fear that Kavkaz-Center may accuse the site for violation of the author rights and appeal to the RF court in this connection? Don’t we have any more sources and services besides the Kavkaz-Center that could comment upon the situation? After reading the Runet.Ru publication, it seems that it wasn’t the FSB that closed the site (as it is mentioned in the headline of the article), but the Kavkaz-Center site closed itself. A rather crazy impression by the way.

It is a different thing when a leading Western TV company supplies nformation about the hostage drama in the center of Moscow with two hyperlinks: one to the RF Government site and the other to a site of Chechen terrorists. We are used to such an attitude of Western companies and have made our own conclusions in this connection long ago. It is strange that Runet publications sometimes look like unconcealed anti-Russian PR. It’s not very dangerous if it was just an annoying error or non-professionalism. This mistake can be corrected. However, it is worse if it was deliberate policy.

Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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