The next big thing: English to Russian
Posted On July 8, 2021
Russian speakers are set to get a lot more access to English-language content from the country’s largest Russian news agency, the RIA Novosti, following the publication of a book about the war in Ukraine.
Russian language publishers, however, are worried about the new policy, with some worried it could limit the range of news stories that can be published.
Russian speakers will be able to access Russian-language news sites in English-speaking countries starting March 31, but many are worried the new restrictions could be too severe for those who live in the countries where Russian is the official language.
Russian news outlets in Ukraine, the Baltics and other former Soviet republics have been unable to publish stories about the conflict, but have published many in English.
The RIA is Russia’s largest independent media company, with about 2.5 million subscribers in more than 120 countries.
The new policy is set to take effect in March, and will allow for a broader range of content to be published by the agency, including news about foreign policy, sports, business and other subjects.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Russian media outlets are hoping that the new rule will make their work more accessible to their audiences in countries outside of Russia.
But RIA’s director of content, Vadim Shakhov, said he is concerned that the policy could be detrimental to foreign-language media.
“This will be the first step toward limiting the diversity of news content in the country,” Shakhow said in a statement.
“The country will become a lot less hospitable for Russian-speaking journalists.”
In Ukraine, where Russian-speakers account for a small minority of the population, the new restriction could make the Russian-led government more sensitive to the interests of the majority.
Shakhovsky said the Ria decision is not a big change.
“We have been using English for decades,” he said.
“It’s been a very good tool for us.
Now we’re trying to find new ways to use English in a different way.”
In addition to RIA, other Russian news agencies are also publishing articles about the Ukraine crisis in English, but some worry that the rule could restrict their reach.
“These are all the news agencies that have to cover the conflict in Ukraine,” said Ilya Dzheleznyak, head of research at the Institute of European Integration, a think tank in Moscow.
“If you’re a Russian-origin journalist who works in Ukraine or in the Baltic countries, then you’re not allowed to report on that conflict in English.”
Some Ukrainian journalists say that, if the new rules are adopted, they may lose the freedom to report from the conflict areas, while other journalists worry that it will mean they will be forced to limit their coverage of the conflict to news reports.
“They’re trying not to change the policy, but to keep it,” said Dmitry Gudkov, a journalist and co-founder of the Moscow-based Ukrainian TV network TV4.
“But now they’re also trying to keep all of us on the sidelines.
That’s not the way to deal with the situation.”
The new rule is also expected to affect other major news outlets, such as the New York Times and The Guardian, which are based in London.
In a statement on its website, the New Zealand Herald said it was disappointed by the decision.
“Our reporting has always been based on fact and not fiction,” the statement said.
The New Zealand Government has been pushing for international media outlets to provide a “fair and balanced” account of the Ukrainian conflict.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had raised the issue of freedom of expression with the Riamens, saying that, “the Government is concerned about the impact of this rule on foreign-owned Russian-owned media and their ability to conduct reporting on the conflict.”
In February, the Russian government announced it was suspending all cooperation with foreign media outlets over Ukraine, citing Russia’s actions in the war and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The move came after Russian news organizations published an article about the Russian military in Crimea.
It also followed a statement by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in which it said it hoped that the Rias would take steps to ensure the “full rights” of journalists, particularly in Ukraine and the Baltic states.
The ministry added that it would “promote dialogue” with Rias.
But Dzhemnyak said the new regulations could limit what news outlets can publish in Russia.
“All the major news organizations are afraid to publish in Ukraine now, because it will be impossible for them to continue their work in those areas,” he told Next Big News.
“For them, the best news in Ukraine is news about the military.
The problem is that the Ukrainian authorities are not even looking into the issue.”
Shakhova told Next B?nt that the government should provide incentives to news outlets to stop publishing articles in Ukrainian and other languages.