Media coverage of climate change in Russia: Governmental bias and climate silence

Marianna Poberezhskaya

This paper explores which actors and factors influence media coverage of climate change in Russia. It does this by analysing the coverage of three events by five Russian national newspapers (Komsomol’skaya pravda, Rossiyskaya gazeta, Izvestiya, Kommersant and Sovetskaya Rossiya). The three events are the Kyoto Conference in 1997, the Copenhagen Conference in 2009 and the Russian heat-wave of 2010. This paper concludes that regardless of the ownership structure of the newspapers or their dependence on advertising, there is little difference in quantity and quality of overall coverage on climate change. With most newspapers relying on Russian officials as information sources, almost none criticise or question Russian climate policy. Furthermore, the article concludes that, in Russia, the omission of climate change issues from discussion in national newspapers becomes a greater problem than biased coverage, as the lack of commentary decidedly prevents these issues from entering the public debate.

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