Firing By Novaya Gazeta
On November 12, 2008, Soldatov’s employer Novaya Gazeta fired him and Agentura.Ru colleague Irina Borogan. In press release, Soldatov and Borogan said that Novaya Gazeta had ceased its collaboration with Agentura.Ru without explanation. ‘They even removed our banner from their website,’ said Soldatov, noted by Maria Eismont in Index on Censorship on November 27). The paper’s editors had not met with them; all information came from the personnel department.
As a result of this action, the statement continued, “’Novaya gazeta,’ one of the few independent publications in the country in fact is ceasing to cover the special services and publish investigations ‘both the suddenness and the form in which the separation happened gives reason to suppose that it was taken not for purely economic reasons”. reads the statement on Agentura.ru, encouraging readers to guess which of the recently published stories could be the real reason. One of Agentura’s last articles for Novaya Gazeta focused on the former FSB officer Pavel Ryaguzov, who is currently facing prosecution in the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial.
Novaya Gazeta’s deputy editor-in-chief Sergei Sokolov denies to Index on Censorship any politics behinds the firing. ‘Job cuts, including some of the star writers, are a result of the investors’ decision to cut the funding of the paper. This has nothing to do with professional performance.’ Sokolov added that the job cuts ‘will certainly affect the paper, but not catastrophically’. He said that the newspaper will continue to monitor the secret services, ‘like we always did, even before collaborating with Agentura’. Sokolov added that the coverage of Politkovsakya’s murder case, which he is overseeing himself, will not be affected.
Roman Shleinov, head of the investigations unit at Novaya Gazeta, said to Index on Censorship the paper will continue to do investigations although now there will be less specialisation and journalists will be forced to write on a much wider range of issues. ‘Maybe the job cuts will push the remaining staff to work harder,’ he said. But Shleinov was in general quite pessimistic: ‘It seems that things will get worse.’
Read more about this topic: Andrei Soldatov
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