- Russia eliminates 72-year-old RIA Novosti news agency
- The move shows tightening of state control over media, report says
- Controversial TV host will be in charge of new state media agency
RIA Novosti, Russia's state-run news agency, reported on its own demise Monday after a decree by President Vladimir Putin created a new agency called Rossiya Segodnya. The new agency, whose name means "Russia Today," combines RIA Novosti and state-owned Voice of Russia radio.
According to the report, the move is "the latest in a series of shifts in Russia's news landscape, which appears to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector."
RIA Novosti was founded in 1941, just after Nazi Germany invaded Russia, and has grown to a network of reporters in 45 countries and services in 14 languages.
The Kremlin says the changes are necessary to save money and make state media more effective. "It's difficult to explain this to the world, but we can do this, and we must do this," Sergei Ivanov, head of Russia's presidential administration, told reporters.
The Kremlin appointed controversial television host Dmitry Kiselyov to run the new state media group. He was recently embroiled in a scandal over anti-gay remarks, according to RIA Novosti.