Former CNN foreign affairs correspondent and Shorenstein fellow Jill Dougherty argued that the recent crisis in Ukraine marks a turning point for the Russian media during a seminar on international conflict, analysis, and resolution Monday.
“I want people to get out of this [talk] the importance of Ukraine on many levels,” Dougherty said. “Especially the effect it has been having along the way to accelerate changes in the media.”
The event, which was co-sponsored by the Neiman Foundation for Journalism, focused on the tense relationship between the United States and Russia. During the event, Bruce Allyn, senior fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project, compared the differing policies, perspectives, and means by which America and Russia conduct negotiations.
Dougherty, meanwhile, traced how the media has facilitated political discourse around the former Soviet Union.
According to Dougherty, the Russian government only allowed certain media outlets to exist because they gave discontented citizens an opportunity to let out steam. Now, however, the Russian government appears to have begun to clamp down.
“These outlets that were allowed to exist are now under pressure,” Dougherty said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made attempts to control media sources by claiming that the internet is not safe, thereby “controlling that space that is growing in influence among young people,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty noted that she sees many similarities between current Russian propaganda and the way Russia tried to control public discourse during World War II.
“I am very attuned to emotions, propaganda, ways of changing people’s thinking,” Dougherty said. “Russian media seems to me a replay of World War II.”