Media Freedom in the Former Soviet Union

More than two decades after the fall of the USSR many of its former republics failed to establish a democratic and open media landscape, ranking among the worst in media freedom indexes.

At a Minsk café on a blustery day just before New Year’s in 2010, Franak Viańćorka hesitated before switching on his phone. The former journalism student was on the run from the Belarusian authorities for organizing and blogging on antigovernment demonstrations that erupted after the disputed December 19 presidential vote that saw the reelection of the man who had occupied the seat for the previous 16 years, President Aleksandr Lukashenko.