Russia: how are media evading censorship?

As a result of tighter government regulations, almost all critical media in Russia have been blocked from the internet by the media supervisory authority Roskomnadzor and are now only accessible via VPN servers. At the same time new media projects launched by exiled journalists and news channels on Telegram and Youtube are being launched. Europe's press takes stock on International Press Freedom Day.

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Novaya Gazeta Europe (RU) /

Call the war a war

Only nine days after its launch, the Novaya Gazeta Europa, founded by exiled journalists, has already been blocked on the Russian internet. Editor-in-chief Kirill Martynov is not deterred:

“We do not write anything about the 'special military operation in Ukraine' because it is a war. One must speak loudly about wars and write as much as possible. To the prosecutor and censor let it be said that Novaya Gazeta Europa was founded on EU territory, under the protection of and guided by the laws governing European press freedom. The ideas of the Russian Federation, which have superseded the law in Russia and prohibit our profession, do not regulate our activities. ... The truth about the terrible war started by Russia will become available to all the citizens of our country.”

The Insider (RU) /

Criticism will continue between the lines

The Insider sees parallels with the Soviet era:

“On the one hand the pool of truly totalitarian, militaristic and inhumane propaganda forums will grow (even if they previously wrote about fishing or poetry). On the other it's to be expected that the opposing side - those who are at heart against the war - will wink at their audiences and express their beliefs in a covert manner (there is plenty of experience of this from Soviet and Tsarist times). ... In the history of Russian journalism, the relative freedom of speech of the 1990s to 2010s seems more like a limited anomaly. The ability to write and read between the lines and stay one step ahead of censorship has been honed over centuries.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Fake news also works outside Russia

Propaganda has been on the rise for years, laments Corriere del Ticino:

“Putin has been muzzling the independent press in Russia for years so as to give free rein to his narrative of the 'evil' West trying to strangle his country. Increased use of social media for propaganda purposes is another weapon for those who want to crack down on the 'inconvenient' truths of the independent media. Fake news is taking over the Internet and casting the invaders as heroes. Unfortunately it is not only the Russians who believe this.”