Friday, September 14, 2007

Freedom of Press and Freedom of Speech in Russia

We had a heated debate ("heated" by both whiskey, imagination, and the camp-fire) this summer when we were camping on the freedom of speech in Russia.

My friend seemed to suggest that they had no freedom of speech in Russia today. Whenever I pointed out some aspect of freedom of speech, my friend brought up various things done by Stalin... so I'm not exactly sure why I was loosing the argument, except for the fact that it was 2 against 1.

Anyway, I resolved to put together a compendium of sources of free speech in Russia when I got home, and post them on my blog. I've now got about 20 or 30 web sites of different news agencies in Russia, and several other web sites that have streaming news video, and audio. In addition to that there are dozens of free Russian blog and message board systems, each with hundreds to thousands of customers (bloggers and/or message board participants) giving Russians an unprecedented degree of freedom of speech and press.

However, I'm inclined to think we've become narrow minded with regards to freedom of speech. It really has almost nothing to do with the big mega-company news organizations, but much more to do with the common man and his ability to speak his mind. Freedom of speech has to do with what kind of art you can make, and what degree of government censorship there is for it. So, in my mind, it is not only the journalist (amateur or professional) but the musician, the film-maker, the professional comedian, the photographer, and so on.

Well, I don't have the time today to post a collection of links to independent Russian news sources, and other sources of public freedom of expression in the Russian Republic, but I would at least like to tell you about a couple of cool things:

The BBC has a great "Fact Page" on every country that lists the major news sources for that country. Here is Russia.

One of the deficiencies of the above list is that it is only the "major" news sources, and doesn't include local sources.

These days nearly every city in Russia (so think thousands) has it's own web portal sponsored by the local city business and civic leaders, with news from local news papers as well as blogs, forums, photo galleries, and so on.

Politics is complicated in Russia with hundreds of political parties. So many news sources have a "slant" in that they are connected with various parties or groups of parties, or companies, or unions, and so on. Not to mention the parties themselves have web pages and printed papers, radio broadcasts, and so on.

In my opinion it all SMACKS of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Another great resource, is this collection of streaming web sites:
* At World TV Radio

I've tried several of the streaming sites in the main part of Russia (think West), and can't really get a signal that I can stand listening to, however, I've found that the radio station in Vladivostock, Radio VBC, which also broadcasts on FM has a great streaming feed. I think when it comes to streaming, proximity really helps.

Regards!
Basil

1 comment:

JamesoftheNorthwest said...

"My friend seemed to suggest..."

Hmmmm...I wonder who it could have been...I'll bet I know!

:)