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Russia has already been doing pretty bad in terms of media freedom. In 2021 it was in 150th place on World Press Freedom Index. But what happened since Putin started the war in Ukraine is the next level of censorship.
Now, pretty much all of the independent media, both international and local, is blocked in Russia. Novaya Gazeta, the last standing major critical voice in Russia, stopped operating on March 27. It’s the same Novaya Gazeta whose editor Dmitry Muratov won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work just a year ago.
The country of 144 million people has no major independent media channel inside the country.
How did that happen? And what does that mean for Russia and the world?
We discuss that with Ann Cooper, who was the very first Moscow correspondent, back in 1987, for the National Public Radio (NPR) network in the US.
She has also spent many years at Columbia Journalism School in New York, where she was the Broadcast program director and International program director.
Ann has also worked as an executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an American non-profit helping journalists outside the US.
We met Ann at her apartment in New York on March 24. The conversation is led by Karolis Vyšniauskas.
The first NARA conversation with Ann Cooper, published in 2019, dealt with a memory of Lithuania's independence movement and her reporting on the night of January 13th. Listen to it here.
Further reading: the articles by Ann Cooper on media in Russia and Ukraine.
Putin tolerated some critical voices in his 22-year assault on Russian media. His war in Ukraine ends even that, published at Committee to Protect Journalists, March 21, 2022
Fighting for a free press in Ukraine – and beyond, published at Nieman Reports, March 4, 2022
Russia’s silencing of Ekho Moskvy forces a sad end on a brave broadcaster, published at Committee to Protect Journalists, March 4, 2022
Let them listen, published at Harriman Magazine by Columbia University, December 2021
Conveying truth: independent media in Putin’s Russia, published at The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, August 10, 2020