|Follow us on:|
News agency RIA Novosti and the state-owned Voice of Russia radio will be scrapped and absorbed into a new media conglomerate called Rossiya Segodnya, according to a decree signed by the Russian leader.
The Kremlin also announced the appointment of Dmitry Kiselyov, a prominent Russian television presenter and media manager recently embroiled in a scandal over anti-gay remarks, to head Rossiya Segodnya.
The move is being seen as the Kremlin extending its grip over news broadcasting.
“Russia has its own independent politics and strongly defends its national interests: it’s difficult to explain this to the world but we can do this, and we must do this,” said Head of Russia’s Presidential Administration Sergei Ivanov.
Ivanov argued the move was aimed at cutting down on expenses and making state media more effective.
The changes, including legislative amendments, must be carried out by the government within three months, according to the Kremlin.
The new Rossiya Segodnya will be located in the current RIA Novosti building in downtown Moscow, the decree said.
RIA Novosti was set up in 1941, two days after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, as the Soviet Information Bureau, and now has reporters in over 45 countries providing news in 14 languages.
Last month Gazprom-Media, which is closely linked to state-run gas giant Gazprom, bought control of Russian media company Profmedia from Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin.
In October, Mikhail Lesin, a former Kremlin advisor, was appointed to head Gazprom-Media.
“With the arrival of Mikhail Lesin, the media landscape is starting to be shut down,” wrote Arina Borodina, a RIA Novosti columnist.