Translation: Deputy Minister of Communications Volin explains Media-Business Relations

On 9 February, 2013 the Deputy Minister for Communications schooled Moscow State journalism students in the “propaganda model.” They were none too thrilled about the lesson, as Natalia Romashkova writes.

Deputy Minister of Communications Volin explains Media-Business Relations

The Deputy Minister for Communications and Mass Media Alexey Volin explained the heated reactions to his speech at Moscow State University by the deep chasm in opinions between academic circles and the journalist community. The previous day, Volin said that student journalists should understand that they were going to be “working for the Man,” who will determine what they will write about and how.

“Suffice to say that I was trying to explain how the media works through the market mechanism, but the liberal audience didn’t like that. It happens,” the Deputy Minister told RIA Novosti on Monday. “The serious public interest in this matter is related to the fact that there is, unfortunately, a very big gap between academia’s perceptions of the media market and the journalist profession, and what’s really going on there.”

The official’s comments came in the wake of a furious reaction to his speech on Sunday at a scientific-practical conference organized by the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University. In particular, Alexey Volin claimed that the journalist had “no duty to make the world better, to carry the light of truth to lead mankind down the right path.” “We need to clearly teach students that they will go to work for the Man, and the Man will tell them what to write, what not to write, and how to write about such and such, and the Man has this right because he pays them,” Volin expounded, characterizing the relations between media owners and journalists.

The main point of the speech, according to Alexey Volin himself, was the wish to demonstrate that the mainstream media is a business, which needs commercial success to survive and develop. “Everything else is merely a logical consequence. But this often meets either misunderstanding, or objections from those people who teach students, or consider themselves experts on the media market.”

The Russian Union of Journalists criticizied Alexey Volin’s speech: “The defaming of journalism, and belittlement of its role, is a time-honored technique of political technology, well known to every graduate of a journalism faculty. His overriding goal is to hide the truth from the public, to gloss over the real picture, and to stymie solutions of real problems.”

You should keep in mind that you are a journalist, not a whore. The difference can be difficult to discern, but it exists nonetheless.

– Ilya Stogov (Saint-Petersburg writer and journalist, “Tabloid: A manual on yellow journalism).

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