In response to this week’s On The Media, I found the segment regarding Russia’s freedom of speech and government control very interesting. Journalism is a main source of information and reliance for people, although in Russia, journalism and media usage is cut short and strongly restricted by the government, which causes reporting and citizen voices to be limited – nearly nonexistent. In America, we are provided laws that allow us to speak freely, have opinions, and most importantly, we are allowed to defend those opinions. Whereas in Russia, citizens are not allowed to speak out against government or authorities, nor report incidents that are crucial to citizen knowledge, well-being, and safety. For instance, the guest speaker on On The Media stated that a fellow journalist’s editors rejected three of the stories that she pitched to them, simply because in some shape or form they spoke against or admitted facts that were negatively associated with Russia and its government. The reporter was told that even if there was a storm or dangerous event, “We still have to write that all skies are clear over Sochi.” This being said, the media in Russia is restricted by government forces, and has been rejected their freedom of speech, as citizens, and reporters. The control of the Russian government is nearly invincible, considering the threats and consequences that are served if anyone dares to write against it. Local activists have even began reporting on their personal blogs, websites, social media accounts, and more to inform as many people as they can about local events, although some have had to flee the country to avoid prosecution.
Being an American citizen, this is unimaginable to me. I could never imagine being so restricted and controlled by government, most specifically my freedom of speech, nor could I imagine having to escape my homeland because of speaking my opinion. Although our current media in the U.S. is not as credible or reliable as it once was, I still trust it to an extent depending on the source, and constantly research about important issues to ensure that I am receiving accurate and reliable information. Russian citizens are unable to do so, which is extremely unfortunate, as well as a huge violation of their freedom of speech and knowledge. The purpose of journalism and media is to inform the public of information, at least in America we utilize this aspect, although in Russia, media is used as a smokescreen to cover government and country actions, and to limit the knowledge of their citizens. I believe that that is a disgrace.