The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Wednesday strongly condemned the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to abolish the country's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti and Voice of Russia radio station.
"We strongly condemn this absolutely scandalous move," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha, in a statement.
"This seemingly sinister action has removed RIA Novosti, a station that was accountable to the people of Russia and attempted to produce balanced reports, and replaced it with a news agency that it appears will become part of President Putin's propaganda machine. This is a deeply worrying situation for press freedom in Russia," he noted.
EFJ President Mogens Blicher-Bjerregard said "given the suspicions of state propaganda, we are concerned for the future of the thousands of journalists and stringers currently employed by Ria Novisti. We fear that the new agency will not be able to continue its mission in terms of professionalism and jobs." The Brussels-based IFJ represents more than 600, 000 journalists in 134 countries.