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Several top managers fired in the Kommersant publishing house

December 14, 2011, 12:05 UTC+3
The 49th issue of the Kommersant Power magazine caused the dismissal
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MOSCOW, December 14 (Itar-Tass) —The media mogul of the Kommersant publishing house, Alisher Usmanov, fired chief editor of the Kommersant Power magazine Maxim Kovalsky and director general of the Kommersant Holding Andrei Galiyev. The 49th issue of the Kommersant Power magazine caused the dismissal. Several articles in the magazine issue “are next to petty hooliganism,” Usmanov noted.

On Tuesday morning, Kommersant Director General Demyan Kudryavtsev has made an entry in his blog over Usmanov’s personnel decisions, and apologized for several articles in the magazine, the Komsomolskaya Pravda writes. He also noted that he filed resignation that will be considered at a next meeting of the Kommersant stockholders. “The 49th issue of the Kommersant Power magazine violated the internal procedures and the rules of the Kommersant publishing house, professional journalism standards and the Russian legislation. The top management of the publishing house regrets about this fact and makes apologizes to the readers and partners,” Kudryavtsev said.

The latest issue of the Kommersant Power magazine, as well as almost all other editions this week, were devoted to the State Duma elections and the protest actions, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta notes. Usmanov’s decision was caused by a photo, which illustrated the news report. The photo showed a ballot paper, on which a profane word was written by the red marker.

On Tuesday, Alisher Usmanov fired Maxim Kovalsky and Andrei Galiyev for the violation of the journalist ethics and “petty hooliganism,” the Novye Izvestia writes. Along with the dismissed high ranking Kommersant officials, other high ranking officials, including Kommersant director general Demyan Kudryavtsev and deputy chief editor of the Kommersant Power magazine Veronika Kutsyllo filed resignations.

The dismissal of the Kommersant high ranking journalists surprised the whole journalist community, the newspaper cited chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists Vsevolod Bogdanov as saying. “The Kommersant publishing house always seems to us favourable over its attitude to the legal social status of journalist,” he elaborated. “Here journalists were feeling quite well, they could express their opinion calmly, could get a good reward for their work. I will not judge how the ethics and the morality were violated in the recent issue of the magazine. But such a quick decision and its tough nature arise many bad emotions,” he noted.

“At first one should address in special structures, which could have investigated how the ethical code of journalist and the mass media law were breached,” the chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists said. For instance, one should address in the Special Committee for Complaints against the Press. “But the fact that the employer has made his own decision and assumed responsibility raises some doubts what is a legal climate we live in today and how the public consciousness is being formed today,” Bogdanov believes.

The Vedomosti recalled that the violations of the professional ethics was found in the publication of the photo of a ballot paper with the profane saying against the prime minister (now the photo was removed from the website with apologises to the readers and partners). The dirty words on the pages of the respectful edition, let it be the photo, can hardly be taken as an art object, the newspaper writes in the editorial comments on the offence. Meanwhile, this publication could not be punished by the dismissal. According to the newspaper, the Kommersant history is the history of all post-Soviet journalism. The ability to take “hooliganism” gestures within a good taste makes part of this tradition that envisages the ironic attitude to the reality.

The newspaper considers non-accidental that the style of the newspaper raised indignation from the Kommersant owner right at the moment of growing political tensions, claiming that the dismissal was caused by the discontent of the authorities with criticising Kommersant articles during the elections. This is already a punishing censorship disguised as the corporative rules.

The Vedomosti reported in another article that business tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, who intended to run for presidency, offered to Alisher Usmanov to sell the Kommersant publishing house, but was given the refusal.

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