More than 1,000 demonstrators rallied in Moscow Sunday to protest against the authorities' efforts to tighten controls over national media.
The protest in downtown Moscow was linked to the fifth anniversary of the state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant taking over the NTV television station in what was widely viewed as a Kremlin-orchestrated move to stifle criticism of the government.
Since President Vladimir Putin's first election in 2000, all nationwide networks have come under tight state control, resulting in blanket positive coverage of government activities and the disappearance of critical reporting.
While print media enjoys considerably more freedom compared to broadcasters, top national newspapers feel the pressure of their owners fearing that critical reports could jeopardize their business interests.
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