The Media System in Russia

Term Paper, 2009

11 Pages, Grade: 64%



1.0 Introduction

2.0 The Russian media system in brief

3.0 Hallin and Mancini’s approach

4.0 Analysis of the Russian media system

4.0 Into a new model of media and politics

5.0 Conclusion

List of references

List of Tables

Table 1: Effect of the characteristics of the structure of the political system on the autonomy of the media (based on: Maurer 2008: 84 and Hallin and Mancini 2004: 296)

Table 2: Effect of the characteristics of the structure of the political system in Russia on the autonomy of the media

1.0 Introduction

This essay analyses the Russian media system on the basis of the concept of comparing media systems developed by Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini in 2004. Therefore a brief sketch about the Russian media system is given in the second section of this essay. Section three contains an overview about Hallin and Mancini’s approach of comparing media systems, which also will be discussed briefly. The advantages and drawbacks of using this concept on Russia will also be pointed out. In section four the tool mentioned above will be used to analyse the Russian media system. In section five it is discussed whether the Russian media system could fit in one of the three models approached by Hallin and Mancini. Concluding this essay suggests the development of a new fourth model to describe the specifics of Post-Soviet countries.

2.0 The Russian media system in brief

The Russian media system of today, which emerged out of the mostly state-owned and completely state-controlled and censored system of the Soviet Russian era (Koltsova 2006: 22-26 and Gladkov 2002: 34-41), is quite diverse at first glance. According to the CIA (2008), Russia had about 7300 TV stations in 1998 and about 1900 radio stations in 2004. In 2005 about 46000 print items were registered, but only about half of them were really published. The TV sector is the most important media in Russia, with the Russian inhabitants watching around four hours a day (Matzen 2006: 306-307). The biggest TV-channels are Rossija, owned by the state-holding VGTRK (All-Russia State Television and Radio Company), and Pervy. The majority of this company is also in the hands of the state (Matzen 2006: 306-307).

The media system of today can be described as a system of “politicised private capital” (Kharina-Welke 2004/2005: 578, translated by V.S.) or a “governmental Oligarchie” (Kharina-Welke 2004/2005: 578, translated by V.S.), as it is mostly not about the profit, but first of all about the power emerging.

3.0 Hallin and Mancini’s approach

Hallin and Mancini’s (2004) main idea to develop a tool to analyse why the press is as it is, emerged from the widely recognised but critically discussed “Four Theories of the Press” by Siebert, Peterson, and Schramm (1956 cited in Hallin and Mancini 2004: 1). As those four theories today are seen as outdated, a new tool to analyse media systems was needed (e.g. Steinulfsson Skjerdal 1993, Ostini and Fung 2002).

Originally the approach by Hallin and Mancini was set up to discuss western media systems (Hallin and Mancini 2004: 1). Nevertheless, in this essay their approach will be used to look into the Russian media system. The advantage of this will be that the Russian media system can be compared directly with the western media systems, analysed by Hallin and Mancini. However, this approach might not capture all specific elements of the Russian media system, as it emerged out of socialism and is a rather young capitalist democracy.

Out of the four suggested dimensions by Hallin and Mancini to compare media system, this essay is only going to focus on the following three, as the fourth dimension is mainly focusing on the print media market, which is not the most important part of the Russian media system:

(1) “political parallelism”
(2) “the development of journalistic professionalism”
(3) “the degree and nature of state intervention in the media system”
(Hallin and Mancini 2004: 21).

The characteristics of the three dimensions can either indicate a trend towards autonomy of the media (at least from the state) or towards a strong relation between media and state (Maurer 2008: 80-84). At this point it is worth mentioning that in reality the lines are not always drawn that clearly. Hence it is important to understand that the dimensions do not describe the media system as a whole but are a tool to break the system down to enable a comparison to other media systems.

4.0 Analysis of the Russian media system

In this section the approach by Hallin and Mancini is used to analyse the Russian media system. The first dimension to look at is the dimension about “political parallelism”. As the brief information about the media system in Russia already implied, the Russian government and a lot of politicians have a huge influence on the Russian media system. This is not true for the majority of the media, but for the most important media. In 2006 the mentioned TV channels Rossija and Pervy together had a market share of 37.7 per cent. NTV, belonging to the partly state-owned Gazprom-subsidiary Gazprom Media, held 14.3 per cent of the market share in that year (Matzen 2006: 307). Counted together those three at least partially state-controlled TV channels, already cover half of the TV market. Similar analyses could be made for the radio or print sector. Those numbers and the fact that about 92 per cent of the coverage on TV is positive about the government, shows that the Russian media system has to be defined as a “politics-over-broadcast system” (Mommsen and Nußberger 2007: 51-54; Wehner 2008: 351).

Within the dimension of the “development of journalistic professionalism”, the spectrum reaches from professionalization to complete instrumentalization. For Russia it appears it is far closer to instrumentalization than it is to professionalization.


Excerpt out of 11 pages


The Media System in Russia
Coventry University
Global Media and Communications (within the MA Global Journalism)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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895 KB
Media, System, Russia, Hallin, Mancini
Quote paper
B.A. Veronika Streuer (Author), 2009, The Media System in Russia, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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