Friday, September 04, 2009

A Clean Translate

Virtualpolitik pal David Folkenflik broke the story of how Conde Nast has gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent Russian readers from reading a critical piece about Vladimir Putin in one of its own publications.

Conde Nast owns Vanity Fair and GQ as well as other publications, including Russian versions of GQ, Glamour, Tatler and Vogue. On July 23, Jerry S. Birenz, one of the company's top lawyers, sent an e-mail memo to more than a dozen corporate executives and GQ editors.

"Conde Nast management has decided that the September issue of U.S. GQ magazine containing Scott Anderson's article 'Vladimir Putin's Dark Rise to Power' should not be distributed in Russia," Birenz wrote.

He ordered that the article could not be posted to the magazine's Web site. No copies of the American edition of the magazine could be sent to Russia or shown in any country to Russian government officials, journalists or advertisers. Additionally, the piece could not be published in other Conde Nast magazines abroad, nor publicized in any way.

Now Gawker explains in "Эй, вы можете прочитать запрещенную статью GQ про Путина здесь" how the article is reaching the Russian reading public anyway thanks to the Internet and crowd-sourced translation efforts.

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