Regional leader Aleksandr Khudilainen is object of media criticism. Photo: Andrey Rayev,

Karelia has the most government-critical media

Russian critical-minded media is under mounting pressure. But there is still quite a bit left in the Republic of Karelia, a new study finds.
May 13, 2016

The northwest Russian republic tops a rating presented this week by the Media Standard Fund. The study is based on an analysis of more than 1000 regional media companies in a total of 57 federal subjects. The Fund is a project under the Committee of Civil Initiatives, a think tank established by former finance minister Aleksey Kudrin.

Karelia is the best among seven regions with a high level of critical media, the rating says. The other regions in the top category are Saratov, Buryatia, Novosibirsk, Lipetsk, Ivanov and Zabaikalsk.

The study looks at media contents with a critical approach towards the regional governor.

In the bottom of four categories are a total of 28 regions, among them the Moscow and Leningrad Oblasts, Tatarstan and Tyumen.

The other northwest Russian regions of Arkhangelsk, Komi and Nenets AO all have media with a low level of critical approach towards their leaders, the rating shows. Murmansk Oblast is not included in the study.

According to Dmitry Kazmin, leader of the Media Standard Fund, the regions with a high level of government support for media companies are often the regions with the lowest level of media critics. Political scientist Konstantin Kalayev adds to newspaper Vedomosti that the richest regions tend to have the lowest level of governor-critical media outlets because they can own and finance their owns media companies and buy loyalty from journalists.