Skip to content
Home » Year in Review: 2023 – Columbia Journalism Review

Year in Review: 2023 – Columbia Journalism Review

…from Russia, where she worked for the independent TV Rain, following that country’s invasion of Ukraine and the crackdown on domestic press freedom that accompanied it—then bounced between different European countries, including Latvia, which initially welcomed TV Rain but came to regard it with suspicion. Indeed, in 2023, journalists exiled from Russia confronted repeated reminders that their new homes couldn’t necessarily guarantee their safety: Galina Timchenko, the cofounder of the Latvia-based Russian news site Meduza, revealed that she was hacked with Pegasus, perhaps by a European democracy; Elena Kostyuchenko wrote about her suspected poisoning in Germany. Meanwhile, inside Russia itself, two American journalists were jailed on bogus charges and remain behind bars: Evan Gershkovich, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, and Alsu Kurmasheva, a journalist for the US-backed broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (I covered all four of these worrying developments in our newsletter.)

The war in Ukraine has slipped down the news cycle somewhat, but continues to ravage the country—and its own press. There, too, reporters continued to fight back. For our Authoritarianism Issue, Merid spoke with Svitlana Oslavska, a journalist who joined the Reckoning Project, an effort to gather testimony from eyewitnesses to war crimes with the goal of holding perpetrators accountable via the courts. The project “was a way to still do journalism but make a different type of change,” Oslavska said. Last month, Charles McPhedran checked in with four Ukrainian journalists who have covered the war even as it has upended their lives. One—Pavlo Kazarin, a prominent TV and radio host—decided to enlist in Ukraine’s military, seeing that task as more important than journalism for now. Among other things, he has helped his unit with media literacy.

If the Ukraine war has slipped down the news cycle, that’s in part due to the war in the Middle East taking over the headlines: on October 7, Hamas attacked Israel, murdering over a thousand residents and taking hundreds hostage; in response, Israel slammed Gaza with air strikes and conducted a ground invasion. So far, the fighting has claimed the lives of dozens of journalists—mostly in Gaza, but also in Israel and Lebanon—making it the deadliest war for members of the press in at least thirty years. The conflict had a knock-on effect on existing proposals that many Israeli journalists feared would muzzle broadcasters—part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s broader challenge to democratic norms, which, prior to the Hamas attack, was the dominant story out of Israel this year, and which I covered twice in this newsletter. And the coverage of the war was instantly, hotly debated in the US and around the world, as Yona TR Golding reported for CJR. Merid spoke with Max Freedman, whose podcast, Unsettled, has sought to fill what it sees as gaps in the coverage. Ultimately, as the war reporter David Patrikarakos told Kevin Lind, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is probably “the most mediatized conflict in the world—and certainly the most emotive.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!