Free Journalism: Challenges of Our Time

Author: M. Kurakin

IN DECEMBER 2018, an international forum, "Freedom of Journalism in the Context of Human Rights, New Technologies and International Information Security," took place in Pezinok, a suburb of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It was attended by more than 70 experts and members of the media from 12 countries. The forum was organized by Moscow State University, the International Affairs journal, the Russian Union of Journalists, and several foreign media outlets. Russian Ambassador to Slovakia Alexey Fedotov said in his welcoming remarks that Bratislava is perhaps the best venue for such international conferences, considering the high level of mutual understanding that exists between Russia and Slovakia, as well as common Slavic historical traditions.

"I am convinced that preserving media freedom and independence is a necessary prerequisite for the successful democratic development of civil society in any sovereign state. This is an essential condition for the normal peaceful functioning of the system of international relations and a secure world order. This is precisely why any attempts to obstruct media activities for political reasons are unacceptable. However, as we can see, professional journalists are being put on sanctions lists, denied entry, deported, and subjected to physical and psychological violence.

"Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of this kind. A case in point is the detention of Kirill Vyshinsky, a journalist who was arrested by the Ukrainian authorities simply for honestly performing his journalistic duty. In France, it came to the point where Russian journalists were barred from a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his French counterpart. Many Western countries, which call themselves models of media freedom, are using special bureaucratic obstacles to impede the work of uncooperative journalists. It is important to understand that this unacceptable practice with regard to Russian journalists is becoming commonplace and can affect any journalist, not only a Russian

Mikhail Kurakin, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of International Affairs; mkurakin@mail.ru

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