Support The Moscow Times!

Group Ranks Russia on Par With Zimbabwe for Press Freedom

The media in Russia is "not free," due to the government keeping overall control of the sphere and clamping down on certain news outlets, organization Freedom House said Wednesday in its annual press freedom rankings.

The group ranked Russia 172 out of 197 countries, with the same rating as southern neighbor Azerbaijan and as African pariah state Zimbabwe. Russia moved up one spot from last year, when it was ranked 173, on par with Congo, Gambia, and again Zimbabwe.

In explaining Russia's rating, the group compared the country to Iran and Venezuela, both also ruled by powerful executive branches.

"Other authoritarian powers—such as Russia, Iran, and Venezuela—resorted to a variety of techniques to maintain a tight grip on the media, detaining some press critics, closing down media outlets and blogs, and bringing libel or defa¬mation suits against journalists," the group said in the introduction to its rankings.

The top three nations in the rankings, all tied for the first spot, were Finland, Norway and Sweden, which also made up the top three last year.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.