Sunday, July 28, 2019

Free Media a Defense against Fascism Only if It Reaches the Population, Mukhin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 25 – A country may have a free media or have sectors of the media which are free or relatively so but not be defended by it against fascism because the population does not consume by reading or watching the free media but only the media that the regime controls, Yury Mukhin argues.

            Instead, this free media may reach only a tiny portion of the population and thus be no defense against a population that consumes almost exclusively the unfree media offered by the state.  That is the condition of Russia today where there is a free media but it isn’t a defense against fascism because it isn’t consumed (

            Indeed, he argues in a second part of his discussion of media freedom and fascism – for a discussion of the first, see – the Moscow analyst says that in some ways the less free media under the Soviets was a better defense against fascism than the freer media in Russia today.

            To be sure, Mukhin says, “not everything could be printed in Soviet newspapers, but about Soviet people, their needs and interests was printed a hundred times more than today. And – and this is the main thing – these newspapers were read by those whom they concerned. They were read!! And this is the key word when it comes to media freedom.”

            Today it is possible to find in portions of the electronic and print media stories that couldn’t be published in Soviet times, but these doo not play the role as a bulwark against fascism that a genuinely free press does because most of the media isn’t free and what is, isn’t read by a large share of the population.

            This is something Putin’s fascist regime understands perfectly well even if its opponents and those analyzing it do not. It doesn’t matter how free this or that media outlet is if few read or view it. What matters is that the media the population at large does consume is controlled by the regime.

            In fact, a fascist regime may benefit as Putin’s has by allowing certain free media “reservations.” Not only does that confuse Russians and outsiders as to what the current Russian system is all about but it has the additional value from the point of view of the Kremlin of keeping the opposition cut off from the people and thus marginalized.

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