“Each year there is less space left for independent media in the Russian language area. First we were only worried, now it's time to act”, says Maryia Sadouskaya-Komlach of Free Press Unlimited. She is managing the establishment of a cooperative Russian-Language News Exchange facilitated by Free Press Unlimited. The purpose is to increase the access to balanced and reliable Russian-language information in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and beyond.
The platform being set up will consist of independent media outlets working in or for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia. In all these countries, there are large numbers of people that speak Russian as their mother tongue or second language. Supported by a central news desk, the participating media will be able to provide their audiences with high-quality local, regional and international news and analysis. Sadouskaya-Komlach: “The platform will not focus exclusively on politics and international affairs. There also will be room for human interest, economy, culture, sports and humour in all possible online and offline formats.”
The project has received initial support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the commitment of other international donors. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders, emphasized that the purpose of the Dutch government is not to oppose the state media, but to strengthen independent unbiased media: "Counterpropaganda is ineffective and goes against our democratic principles. We wish to support the work of independent media initiatives without dictating what they should write or broadcast."
Want to learn more about the project? Please ask your question here citing 'Russian-Language News Exchange'.