Russian Media Censored?

E-mail Steve

Sept. 8,  2004 1:09 p.m.

Three observations about the hostage-taking in Russia:

1. A producer I know was standing next to a reporter from Russian state-controlled television during the siege. The Russian reporter got off the phone with her bosses in Moscow and shrugged her shoulders in disbelief. Then she said: "They are telling me I can't report anything. They say the only thing I can say is to repeat what the anchor says."

2. During the peak of the violence of the worst hostage crisis in the nation's history, despite having satellite dishes and reporters in place, Russian Channel One showed a soap opera, "Woman in Love."  Russian Channel Two put a spy show on, "Red Chapel." To find out what was going on you had to watch foreign cable news. Most Russians don't have cable.

3. The editor of the most prestigious Russian newspaper, Izvestia, was fired after the crisis. Colleagues say it was because he put a full-page picture on page one of a parent carrying out a wounded child.

Dear Steve,

I read your story on Hostage takers: ‘these bastards’ and I thought of my little three year old red haired daughter running back to give me a kiss and a hug as I drop her off at her daycare... and my heart weeps for those Russian parents.

— Kert (Hilton Head, SC)

Dear Steve:
As an amateur historian and media enthusiast, I'm listening to an historic D-Day radio broadcast as I read your latest report from Moscow about the crisis in Chechnya.
Your no-nonsense, straight reporting of the facts is a breath of fresh air in this era of spin, bias and rumor-mongering.  Rest assured, there are those who still recognize fine reporting in the tradition of Murrow, Bob Trout and Bob Edwards.  Keep up the good work.  
— John (Cleveland, Ohio)


I began to read the many encouraging e-mails you've received from all of us in the States. I was most impressed and proud to realize that there is a true newsman out there!  I'd like to add my good wishes and caution to keep your head down and butt low!  As any Marine will tell you that is the most embarrassing war story to tell - how your butt became target number one.

— Larry (Richardson, TX)

My heart broke when I saw the images of small children running, half naked for their lives while "terrorists cowards" tried to shoot them in the backs. What a world we live in. If somehow you could let any of those folks know on my behalf we are thinking and praying for them and that the world does care.

— Mike

I just read your report. I have (2) little boys and I am devastated by what happened to those people. Does the Russian community have the resources to help these people with their grief? I have prayed for them, I wish I could wrap them all in a warm soft blanket and hold them and tell them it will all be ok.
Please provide an update on the aftermath, I am sure that many people want to know how they are at this time.
Annette (Nashville, TN)

Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.