How Autocrats Undermine Media Freedom

Issue Date January 2022
Volume 33
Issue 1
Page Numbers 131–46
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The news media—whether in established democracies or emerging economies—are under attack. The technological revolution and the failure of free-market competition to protect factual reporting have left news outlets, particularly smaller players, increasingly vulnerable to authoritarians’ sharp-power influence campaigns. Russia tempts cash-strapped news outlets with lucrative inserts and free newswire content with a pro-Kremlin slant. China employs similar tactics with greater resources to dominate the global information space. Inadequate journalistic ethics have kept many of these engagements hidden from publics. These threats make it vital for media to work together, adopt new norms, and support individual journalists to keep press freedom alive.

About the Author

Edward Lucas is senior nonresident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and an aspiring Liberal Democrat member of the U.K. Parliament. His books include The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West (2008), Deception: The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today (2012), and Cyberphobia: Identity, Trust, Security, and the Internet (2015).

View all work by Edward Lucas