Advocacy organization Freedom House has issued another report. This time, it is media-related “Freedom of Press 2010: Global investigation of independent media".
Generally speaking, it would have been sensational if human rights advocates financed by the US government found something good to say about Russia. However, “reset” or not “reset,” Freedom House stays true to itself. Meaning, the sensation did not happen, and American human rights advocates have not found anything nice to say about Russia.
In fact, it is so bad that Russia has dropped to 175th place in Freedom House rating of countries with free press. American human rights advocates believe that nothing changes in Russia, that journalists still get killed, these murders remain unsolved, self censorship runs rampant, and Russian authorities interfere with anything they can, even with “relatively free Internet.”
The interference with “so far free Internet” is very sophisticated. Certain data is allegedly blocked with some “intricate technologies”, while antidemocratic and monopolistic forces remain untouched.
The basis for this explanation of the state of affairs in Russian free press is a great secret. For example, when Google published data about censorship on the Internet, the methods were clear. You could agree with them or not, but the issue was understandable. In case of Freedom House reports, they suggest to take them at a face value. Some Russian liberals agree with it out of habit they have kept from the 1990s that suggests that these reports may influence the Russian society.
"Every year, I repeat the same thing – we are not familiar with the method used to calculate this data. We are not familiar with the methods of collecting these data, and therefore, are unable to assess if these data is correct or not, said vice president of the Media Union Yelena Zelinskaya in her interview to Pravda.Ru.
"But since we, unlike the authors of the report, live and work in Russia, we can notice that within the last year a tendency towards serious improvement has shaped up. If you carefully observe the development of our information space, you can see that journalists have became more active and public opinion has strengthened a great deal. Numerous new political programs appeared . Blogs became largely influential . Rarely events can go unnoticed by press ,” she said.
“Public opinion really has an influence it has never had before, and these are very serious changes. We notice them . The fact that Freedom House does not notice them is their own business. They most likely notice what happens in their country. Russia is far and unfamiliar for them,” Zelinskaya stated.
Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the Institute of CIS countries, earlier commented another report by Freedom House concerning the level of freedom and development of democracy in various countries.
He believes that Freedom House is an American organization that directly influences ratings issued by it. If Coca-Cola was an organization evaluating quality of non-alcoholic beverages, Russian kvas would be place 136.
"Here we have exact same situation. Therefore, I think, we should pay less attention to all these things,” he suggested.