Media Blog

Russia’s Radio Ekho Moskvy under mounting pressure

There are two interesting new stories, from Radio Free Europe and The New Yorker, on the brave embattled journalists of Russia’s Ekho Moskvy, one of the last free and respected media outlets in Russia.

As Radio Free Europe notes, Russia’s ranking in global press-freedom surveys has steadily declined in recent years. Freedom House’s 2008 report ranks it on par with Kazakhstan, Sudan, and Yemen. Ekho Moskvy is one of the few exceptions.

On Tuesday, nationalist protesters demonstrated outside Ekho Moskvy’s office demanding “Death to Spies” after they allowed Georgians to be interviewed on the station.
In August, the station – which employs a wide spectrum of political commentators and relied on reporters in the field, rather than on state media reports, for much of its Georgia coverage – was criticized directly by President, whoops I mean Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.

Ekho Moskvy (“Echo of Moscow”) was launched in 1990 by a few refugees from Soviet radio who finally wanted the opportunity to broadcast straightforward news, discussion, and even call-in shows that allowed people to speak openly. As a sign of goodwill to the tyrants that had been running the Soviet Union they kicked off by playing the Beatles song “All My Loving.”
It is also worth checking out the newly revamped and much improved Radio Free Europe website, which was officially launched a few days ago.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.