Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that RIA Novosti — a major news agency that, amongst other things, was slated to do the official coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi — will be abolished.
The agency will be absorbed by a new organization called Rossiya Segodnya. The group will be run by the controversial Dmitry Kiselyov, who has gotten himself in trouble recently due to anti-gay remarks. (According to Inside the Games, these remarks include saying that gay people should be banned from donating blood and that “their hearts, in case of an automobile accident, should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life.”)
While saving money and streamlining media coverage were the official reasons given for the forced “merger,” RIA Novosti said the actual reasons are more sinister:
The move is the latest in a series of shifts in Russia’s news landscape, which appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector.
Due to the decree issued by Putin, Voice of Russia radio will also be shut down.
[Source: RIA Novosti]