Monday 21 March 2011

Russian bloggers acting as a 'Fifth Estate'

Kommersant, the Russian business daily, was forced to retract an article which criticised an anti-corruption blogger, Aleksey Navalnyy, earlier this month.

The article had attempted to discredit Navalnyy's investigation into fraud at the state-owned pipeline company, Transneft last November.

Bloggers pointed out a number of inaccuracies in the Kommersant piece which forced senior management to issue an apology.

BBC Monitoring Stephen Ennis has the full story. He concludes...
"The incident...illustrates the shifts of power and influence on the media scene in Russia. First, it shows the authority commanded by Navalnyy and the fact that he cannot be attacked with impunity. 
Second, it demonstrates the ability of the online community to police the activities of major players in the mainstream media. None of Kommersant's rivals on the newsstands touched the story. It was left to bloggers to hold the paper to account. 
For media commentator Andrey Miroshnichenko, the episode was an illustration of how the online community can act as what he calls a "viral editor".


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