Censorship is flourishing in the information age and governments are reinventing censorship in the 21st century, according to the journalists Moisés Naím and Philip Benet in “The Anti-Information Age”.
The authors describe how “the scope of censorship is hard to appreciate (…) [because] some tools for controlling the media are masquerading as market disruptions”: “Today”, they say “in Hungary, Ecuador, Turkey, Kenya, and elsewhere, officials are mimicking autocracies like Russia, Iran, or China by redacting critical news and building state media brands. They are also creating more subtle tools to complement the blunt instruments of attacking journalists”.
In Venezuela and elsewhere, they denounce that “the state’s methods include gaining influence over independent media through purchases using shell companies and phantom buyers”.
Using examples of Pakistan, Turkey and Russia, and quuoting the WAN-IFRA report on soft censorship in Hungary, the report points to the indirect methods that governments around the world are using to favor positive coverage and silence critical media.
As Tamoa Calzadilla, the former investigations editor at the Venezuelan newspaper Últimas Noticias, describes: “This is not your classic censorship, where they put a soldier in the door of the newspaper and assault the journalists. Instead, they buy up the newspaper, they sue the reporters and drag them into court, they eavesdrop on your phone and email communications, and then broadcast them on state television. This is censorship for the 21st century.” Calzadilla resigned last year after anonymous buyers took control of the paper, and she was pressured to change a story to align with government views, the authors report.
Source: Benet, Philip and Naím, Moisés: The Anti-Information Age, 16 February 2015, The Atlantic