Report: CIS Countries Are "World's Most Dangerous Places for Journalists"
The evolution of a "reconsolidated authoritarian model" is enabling states in the Commonwealth of Independent States to re-impose control over mass media, according to a recent report prepared by Freedom House.
The report -- titled Muzzling the Media: The Return of Censorship in the CIS -- makes the assertion that most former Soviet states, including those in Central Asia and the Caucasus, are the most hazardous on earth, outside of active war zones, for journalists to work in. Entrenched authority in these states are increasingly unwilling to tolerate the "watchdog" role that media strives to play in open societies, according to the report.
"Reporters willing to investigate issues such as political and corporate corruption are confronted by powerful, vested interests striving to muzzle news professionals," the report states.
"Intimidation, physical violence, and even murder of reporters and editors have become commonplace," the report continued. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. "Journalists in virtually every CIS country have been victims of contract killings, or otherwise met death under suspicious circumstances." [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
At least for the foreseeable future, any hope that a free press would develop in what was once the totalitarian former Soviet space has dissipated, the report suggests. It adds that methods of media control in the CIS have become more sophisticated since the 1991 Soviet collapse. "Gone is all encompassing ideological state media control," the report says. "This contemporary form of censorship is achieved through a mix of state-enabled oligarchic control, broadcast monopolies of presidential
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