Forbes journalists have told the publication’s management that some sources are refusing to share sensitive information with them due to their new reported ownership. Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that Magomed Musaev, a Russian business tycoon, was behind the purchase of Forbes from its current owner.
The move alarmed the outlet’s editorial staff, which is engaged in contract negotiations with the business news publication. After Forbes sent an email to newsroom staff on Friday summarizing a recent meeting with the editorial union, multiple staffers replied to the note saying they have heard from sources who are deeply concerned about the new ownership. These journalists told Forbes that several of their sources expressed reservations about leaking information to them out of fear that their identities weren’t safe.
“Two people raised concerns with me this week about continuing to share sensitive information with us given Magomed Musaev’s recent statements about the company,” reporter Emily Baker-White said in an email shared across the company. “These are just the ones who told me they’re wary about working with us. There are likely more.”
In an October 23 meeting, “we tried to discuss Editorial Integrity and Forbes management dismissed all our concerns,” reporter Andrea Murphy said in another email shared with Semafor. A spokesperson for Forbes didn’t respond to an inquiry about the issue.
Following the publication of this story, a Forbes spokesperson noted that the publication previously said that Musaev had “no involvement whatsoever in the Forbes transaction.”
“Forbes editorial is and always will be fiercely independent, and any suggestion that outside parties or governments would have any influence is completely unfounded,” the spokesperson said. “There is no Russian capital or control involved in this transaction.”
The Washington Post reported that Musaev is a close associate of Shiv Khemka, an Indian billionaire who had been in talks earlier this year to lead the purchase of Forbes. The involvement of Khemka, whose fortune was amassed over decades living in Russia, raised concerns by U.S. national security regulators.