Forbes introduced to censorship Publisher of the Russian Forbes stops printing for sake of Elena Baturina

On the cover, they arrogated the phrase “My safety is guaranteed” to the business-lady. At the same time, she says in the article: “My rights are guaranteed as rights of any other investors”. “A part of the phrase put on cover misleads the edition readers as it was not said by Ms Baturina, thus, it could not have been used as a citation”, the web-site asserts. The Media Company management considers such a substitution as contradicting to the journalistic ethics. This information hardly reflects the words of the Russian Forbes Chief Editor Maksim Kashulinsky. According to him, the disputable citation we are speaking about was only used in ads of December issue of the magazine, published on Monday in Newsweek, which is another edition of the Axel Springer. According to Kashulinsky, the cover was already changed on Monday, but even at that, the Axel Springer Russia did not publish Forbes.
As Russian mass media inform, the article tells a story of Elena Baturina’s Company “Inteko” since its foundation and gives prognoses on its appearance after Yury Lujkov leaves his position of the mayor of Moscow. The material provoked indignation at “Inteko” whose representatives threatened the publishing house with suing. As the magazine collaborators say, the Axel Springer Russia Director General Regina fon Flemming ordered to change the principal material of the issue into a translated text.
Her decision resulted in an international conflict widely covered by foreign mass media. As The Wall Street Journal wrote, management of the American Forbes had to interfere with the conflict and requested to print December issue of Forbes with the article on Baturina. But final decision on the matter was made by the Axel Springer in Germany who followed the request of Americans.
On 1 December, on the web-site of the Axel Springer Russia a new press release to say the publishing house decided to print December issue of the Forbes magazine in “initial variant” appears. “Changes were done only into the citation text on the cover. The article was not changed”, the press release asserts.
Delay of December issue they explain with “insufficient checking up of the facts in the key article of the issue” at the Axel Springer Russia.
One more press release also touches on the problem of journalistic ethics. “After checking up on the material correlation with the principles of journalistic ethics, changes were only done into the citation text”, the document says. Meanwhile, a day before management of the Axel Springer Russia quite differently estimated the journalists’ actions. “The publishing house considers the Forbes magazine ¹12 (33) for 2006 case with a cover story as not observing the principles of journalistic ethics”, 30 December press release says.
In the conflict of the Forbes editorial office with the Axel Springer Russia management, the professional community has taken the side of journalists. Former edition director and publisher of the magazines Forbes and Newsweek Leonid Bershidsky agreed on the initial citation (“My safety is guaranteed”) being incorrect, however, he asserts that Kashulinsky changed it. “To distort a citation, as it was done in the ad is really incorrect, Bershidsky writes. But I believe Maks (stylistics of the web-diary of the journalist. – Notes) has changed the cover. An ad draft is often not a final variant of the cover. Sometimes, we also (in the magazine Smart Money, headed by Bershidsky) rewrite covers in the last moment before printing. That is a specifics of the process”.
“But I do not believe in a word of fon Flemming”, Bershidsky continues. He considers the Axel Springer Director General could not stand threats of “Inteko”, as she has not a large experience in publishing business. “Fon Flemming has been working as a publisher not for a long. She has little practice in publishing business”, Bershidsky asserts. He also suggested Americans to take the license on publishing the magazine in Russia from the Axel Springer.
According to Kashulinsky, “Inteko” representatives have somehow got the whole article and did not want the article to be published. The Forbes chief editor considered the article cancel as a censorship fact. Secretary General of the Union of Journalists of Russia Igor Yakovenko is of the same opinion. He considers the Forbes journalists should bring the matter to court. “I can not foresee the trial in perspective, but, perhaps, we may speak about the CC Article “Making obstacles to mass media activity”, Yakovenko says.
Kashulinsky has already handed in a retirement application; however, he adds that he will agree to stay if the Axel Springer Russia admits its misdeed. It is not excluded that the Axel Springer Russia Director General may loose her position, according to “Gazeta.Ru” sources; they will inform on retirement the nearest future. At present, however, the publisher is trying to save her reputation from accusations of one of the most serious journalistic “sins” – not following the principle “of free speech”. According to sources from the edition, the first part of circulation of December issue was sent to distributors already on Friday.

Vladimir Motorin

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