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Cover for: Free expression on the margins

Free expression on the margins

The Kremlin and the media

On coming to power, Vladimir Putin set about restricting the freedoms that Russian media enjoyed under Yeltsin. After the protests of 2011–12, even the smaller-audience media that still pursued editorial independence came under pressure. Recently, a rise in civic activism and the rapid expansion of internet technologies have brought a new vibrancy – although non-governmental media remain powerless before the Kremlin’s political monopoly.

Cover for: Doing the right thing in the Anthropocene

The ‘Anthropocene’ raises new questions about our collective responsibility for the fate of our planet. It prompts us to ask what we owe to future generations, who will face the consequences of today’s climate crisis, and what kind of democratic policies are needed to respond adequately.

Cover for: Climate fear

Civilization is doomed. Nothing can be done. The question is not ‘if’, but ‘when’. Anthropologist Aet Annist connects climate fatalism to global inequality, since angst about being inconvenienced assumes we live comfortable lives to begin with. Fear produces radically different responses: hope for individual survival or a demand for global intergenerational equality.

Cover for: The power of law or the law of power?

The power of law or the law of power?

Why Europe must lead the way in the governance of technology

If technology is the new governance, then the tech giants are the governors, operating without a democratic mandate. Europe must take the lead in pioneering a rules-based system in which the public interest matters, writes Marietje Schaake. Otherwise, authoritarian regimes and private companies will continue to set the standards.

Cover for: A positive sign for climate politics

The moral and existential tenor of ecological politics today makes Günther Anders’s definition of the ‘third industrial revolution’ seem more contemporary than its much more recent sociological counterpart. This is a positive sign for climate politics and climate journalism.

Cover for: Damage done

Damage done

The Trump–Ukraine controversy in perspective

Coverage of the Trump–Ukraine controversy has focused on the political fall-out in the US. But the harm done to Ukraine may be much more severe and enduring. Not only has US military aid been made conditional, but even worse: the credibility of the US as ally and example in the fight against corruption has been destroyed, writes the head of Hromadske TV.

Cover for: There will be no singing revolution in Russia

Concerned to avert a ‘singing revolution’ in Russia, the Kremlin has co-opted the country’s independent music scene. Apolitical and nihilistic, it is doubtful whether Russian artists could ever play the same role as their Ukrainian counterparts on the Maidan. The group Shortparis is a notable exception – for now.

Cover for: ‘But this is the world we live in’

‘But this is the world we live in’

Corruption, everyday managing and civic mobilization in post-socialist Romania

The strategies that Romanians employ to negotiate the capitalist economy are much like those they used under socialism. Nepotism and bribery are seen as necessary for navigating a broken system. At the political level, however, recent anti-corruption campaigns have brought spectacular results. Jill Massino examines how the shift to a market economy and ongoing corruption have affected individuals’ civic identities, everyday practices and perceptions of the state and the EU.

Cover for: Try like a girl

Five years ago, Malala Yousafzai was listed among the most influential teenagers in the world. Her position is now contested by climate activist Greta Thunberg. Thankfully, they don’t compete with each other for fame. They do, however, challenge assumptions about what can and cannot be done in politics. Especially by girls.

Cover for: A dream is not nothing

A dream is not nothing

Farewell to György Konrád

György Konrád (1933–2019) was one of the intellectual leaders of the democratic transformation in Hungary, whose writings – banned at home – inspired a political generation throughout Central Europe and beyond. Publisher Gábor Csordás remembers Konrád’s wisdom and serenity, even in the face of censorship, surveillance and denunciation.

Cover for: Turkey and Russia: A paradox of family resemblance

Both Russia and Turkey are ethnically diverse former empires that underwent similar processes of modernization and had similar relationships with the West. Today, they have revived a civilizational paradigm with a strong authoritarian and anti-western character. Precisely this resemblance is resurrecting rivalry for power and influence in the region.

Cover for: Civic engagement in the twenty-first century

Disinformation and audience fragmentation pose major questions for the future of the public sphere. Media literacy is increasingly being seen as one response. But what precisely is to be taught? Central to one media literacy project in Croatia is giving voice to migrants and refugees.

Cover for: Moving home

Moving home

The emotional politics of Brexit

Apposite though the ‘heroic failure’ analysis is, the politics of self-pity is not limited to Brexit. Writing from Wales, Angharad Closs Stephens asks whether peripheral national movements also share something of this sense of woundedness. At the emotional level, the boundaries between progressive and reactionary politics are less clear cut than we may like to think.

Cover for: Post-truth panic: the news that never was

Media professionals often engage in a collective hysteria. They complain about their loss of authority, signalling a deep unwillingness to take responsibility for our trade’s failures and, often, complicity. And yet, the ‘post-truth era’ is not a death toll of journalism, but the signal of a necessary change.

Cover for: Wests, East-Wests, and divides

Europe today is divided not by developmental or systemic differences, but two competing ideologies. They cannot co-exist, like political parties, but must displace each other’s vision for the West. But while liberal democracies adhere to a liberal international order, and leaders like Orbán define the West in narrow ethnonationalist terms, a whole new East-West front opens up between the US and an ascendant China.

Cover for: The secret history of radiation

The secret history of radiation

An interview with Kate Brown

In the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, international agencies dismissed local doctors’ warnings about a ‘public health catastrophe’ in order to suppress scandal over nuclear tests carried out by the West since the 1950s. Kate Brown talks to Aro Velmet about the secret history of radiation and what Chernobyl means in the era of climate change.

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