Media in the Turbulence Zone
MGIMO University, new building, lecture room 442
List of speakers

On October 14, within the framework of the 13th Russian International Studies Association Convention (RISA), a session of the Valdai Discussion Club took place, titled “Is Transparency in the Modern Media Possible in the Era of the Rapid Development of Digital Technologies?” Moderator Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, in his opening remarks, said that the matter is further confused by the language used in discussing the situation: one example is the division of media into ‘new’ and ‘old’.

The participants began with the problem of the relationship between media and the “economy of ecosystems”. Mikhail Demin, President of the Media Communication Union (MCU), outlined the situation with OTT services within ecosystems. Alexander Nechaev, Deputy General Director at VGTRK, noted that, in essence, this is just another stage in the development of television and there is nothing revolutionary in streaming and video-on-demand services - we just have a new way of connecting the audience with content.

Discussing the issue of audience manipulation in the digital environment, Nechaev pointed to the opacity of the algorithms that form "infotainment bubbles" around users. “It would be nice if these algorithms were somehow understandable, because we are talking about the information security of the state,” he said. Igor Ashmanov, President of Kribrum JSC, objected that in fact mechanisms of this kind are generally clear and no transparency is possible in their case, since the corresponding world services are completely controlled by America and represent geopolitical tools - tools for breaking someone else's digital sovereignty.

Turning to the topic of restrictions that Russian media face in the West, Peter Fedorov, Head of the International Relations Directorate of RTR, explained that the collective West has invented a virtual Russia for itself and is not ready for any interaction with the real one. This gives rise to "new Berlin Walls" on the Internet, examples of which include such initiatives as the JTI - Journalism Trust Initiative; he went on to describe the history of its creation in detail.

Another important topic for discussion was media measurements. Mikhail Demin pointed to the absence of a “common currency for measuring the audience” between different media platforms. Alexander Nechaev also spoke about the need to understand the number of people participating in a particular media event. In his opinion, it would be more correct to speak not of a “single measurement currency”, but of a single metric. Alexey Malinin, General Director of VTsIOM Media, added that Russia has adopted a law on a single measuring instrument of Internet resources, but the country has a long way to go to develop consensus in the market, search for solutions and develop the necessary algorithms.