OLD Media Moves

Russian biz paper owned by WSJ and FT threatened by company

November 10, 2009

Andrew E. Kramer of The New York Times reports that a Russian mining company is threatening to sue a business newspaper in the country for running stories about its financial performance before a planned IPO in the Hong Kong market.

Kramer writes, “A series of articles in the business newspaper Vedomosti at the end of October detailed Rusal’s dismal financial results for 2008 and included other facts about the company. The articles cited documents given to bankers at a conference closed to the public.

“That scoop is evolving into a legal test for business publications in Russia, a country where the political press is already kept on a tight rein.

“‘How can a company consider profit and loss a commercial secret?’ Elizaveta Osetinskaya, Vedomosti’s editor in chief, said in a telephone interview. She said pressure from Rusal, which is politically well connected, on the newspaper’s reporters to reveal their source could set a worrisome precedent.

“Vedomosti, a Russian language daily, is owned by The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and Independent Media Sonoma Magazines, a publisher of glossy magazines and The Moscow Times newspaper.

“Rusal maintains that Vedomosti’s source probably was an outside financial adviser who would have violated a confidentiality agreement by leaking the information.”

Read more here.

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