Archive for January, 2012

Authoritarian Model: Russia

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Russia had no freedom of expression or free press for nearly a century under the communist Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Russia went through a turbulent period of reforms during which the media and press were liberalized. The arrival of Vladimir Putin after 2000 has renewed criticism that the Russian regime has returned to old habits of press censorship and even assassination of journalists.

See this article in The Economist dating back to 2001: “Russia: Media Muzzle“, and this article “Fear and Self Censorship in Vladimir Putin’s Russia“. This article from Der Spiegel, 50% Good News is Bad News on Russian Radio, examines pressures by the Kremlin to focus on good news stories.

The murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya provoked an international outcry with accusations that the Kremin has ordered her assassination. See this article in The Economist: “A suspicious death in Russia“. See also “Brutal Censorship: Targetig Russian Journalists“. There is also a Wikipedia entry, linked here, listing journalists killed in Russia.

The Internet has challenged the Kremlin’s capacity to censor media in Russia. See this article in the Guardian: “Kremlin may tighten up Internet use in Russia“. There is some evidence however that Russians are turning to social media and blogs to get around state censorship. See this article, “Social media capitalise on Russia’s history of censorship“. See also “Russia’s Viral Dissident Art“.

On the launch of Russia’s RT news network, see “Russia today, tomorrow the world“.

Somewhat comically, see this story about how Russian police reacted to “protests” by doll figures (teddy bears, Lego men, and South Park figurines) holding up miniature placards denouncing the Kremlin: “Doll protestors present small problem for Russian police“. Finally, seet his report on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Russian TV: “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to host Russian TV Show“.


Theories of Media

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Some links for introductory course reading: Political Theories of MediaFour Theories of the Press, and a GoogleBooks link.

Political Power and Social Media

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

See here for Clay Shirky’s essay in Foreign Affairs, “The Political Power of Social Media“. A link to the Foreign Affairs site can be found here.

For a discussion of soft power, see this NPR link “In Digital Age, the Future of Power Must be Smart“. Also see this article by Joseph Nye, “The War on Soft Power“.

In the video below, from a report on Russia’s RT, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells Congress that America is losing the soft power war, referring to Russia’s new initiative in global TV news. 


In the 16th century, five centuries before Facebook, Twitter and the Arab Spring, viral network effects helped bring about the Protestant Reformation after Luther nailed his famous 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. See this article in the Economist, “When Luther Went Viral“. 

Zeitgeist 2011: A Year in Review

Posted: January 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hello world!

Posted: January 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

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