"1984" in action: Reuters learns about Kremlin's request for good news from major companies
The Russian authorities discussed the creation of a positive information agenda with the leading companies, it follows from a letter Reuters got access to. Officials need news in the format "life is getting better" from the businesses.
According to Reuters, a seven-page document was sent out in October to 45 major Russian companies (17 state and 28 private). Among the recipients are Rosneft, NOVATEK, Surgutneftegaz, Gazprom and LUKOIL.
The concept outlined in the letter assumes the creation of a "positive news feed", where the news flow would fit in two directions: "previously - now" and "life is getting better," Reuters quotes the document.
Along with the document, the companies received invitations to a meeting, the Ministry of Energy was involved in the mailout. Reuters spoke with three executives of the companies that received the letter. According to the agency, the initiative came from the first Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Sergey Kirienko (in charge of domestic policy).
The meeting was held on October 12, it was conducted by Deputy Energy Minister Anton Inyutsyn, a representative of the Presidential Administration was also present, Reuters reports referring to the participant of the meeting.
The representative of Kirienko did not respond to the request of Reuters. RBC sent a request to Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president's press secretary. Anton Inyutsyn declined to give any comments.
According to the document, the companies were offered to send news weekly, on Monday or in the first half of Tuesday, with an emphasis on generating employment, creating infrastructure facilities and science. At the same time, special attention should be paid to projects provided with state support. The document features a list of nine items prescribing what news companies should furnish, as well as examples of the desired news. They should be distributed in the form of a table, and events should be highlighted. At the same time, information should be accompanied with media guidelines, which can be passed on to journalists without or with minimal changes.
One of the examples is the news about the brigade of miners of Kuzbass, which set a monthly record for coal mining in July 2017.
"The life of most of our fellow citizens has become much more calm, comfortable, interesting. However, many examples are often out of the media's attention. We are faced with the task of carefully and creatively treating the selection of such news hooks and topics for further proposal to the media," the document reads.
Saburova believes that the Russian authorities violated articles 2 and 5 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, guaranteeing the right to life, as well as the right to freedom and personal inviolability.