RIA Novosti Preps for Change
Published: March 12, 2014 (Issue # 1801)
Three months after a surprise Kremlin announcement that Russian state news agency RIA Novosti was to be liquidated, changes are under way at the company.
As employees were asked to schoose whether to stay on at RIA Novosti’s replacement agency or sign redundancy contracts, the agency’s editor-in-chief Iraklii Gachechiladze said Thursday that staffing procedures for the new company were almost complete and that its final structure could be unveiled next week.
Related: RIA Novosti Employees Await Word on Fate of News Agency
Employees up to and including the agency’s editor-in-chief were stunned on Dec. 9 by a presidential decree liquidating RIA Novosti, Russia’s largest state-run news agency.
Under the decree, RIA and the state radio service Voice of Russia are to be disbanded and their remaining structures merged into a replacement media organization named Rossia Segodnya, which is Russian for “Russia Today.”
News and commentary website Slon.ru ran a story Wednesday quoting a letter sent to employees of RIA Novosti’s regional offices in which the department’s head described the situation as “a rather bleak picture.”
The letter said the number of regional correspondents would be slashed, while those remaining will work from home, the report said.
Gachechiladze criticized the report, saying Slon.ru had failed to properly secure RIA Novosti’s position on developments.
Even respected publications such as Slon.ru are not trying to reach RIA’s press service before publishing materials,” said Gachechiladze. “All the reforms are taking place with as much transparency as possible, therefore there is no need to rely on different interpretations of the events taking place.”
Even rank-and-file employees within the company have been left largely in the dark about plans for Rossia Segodnya and about the specifics of its future editorial policy since the RIA Novosti liquidation news was announced, however.
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