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LMC 2023

To Hold a Pen Is to Be at War: Silencing the Media

Autocratic regimes are infamous for silencing critical voices in the media and are ready to harass and even imprison both foreign and domestic journalists to supress dissenting views and inconvenient facts. But in more open societies and established democracies too, the media may be weakened, and journalists undermined through a combination of direct government attacks, private and state legal actions (for example, Yevgeny Prigozhin vs Eliot Higgins), and self-censorship.


Hiroyuki Akita

Commentator at Nikkei

Edward Lucas

Non-Resident Senior Fellow and Senior Adviser at CEPA

Zhanna Nemtsova

Co-Founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom and Co-Director of the Boris Nemtsov Academic Centre for the Study of Russia at Charles University

Siddharth Varadarajan

Journalist and Founding Editor of The Wire

Roman Dobrokhotov

Editor-in-Chief, The Insider


Ben Judah

Director of the Transform Europe Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Europe Center of the Atlantic Council

How can credible reporting from countries such as Russia or China be ensured? How can media self-censorship in democracies be avoided? How can the weaponization of the law as means to silence media be stopped?

“Qui plume a, guerre a” (To Hold a Pen is to Be at War)

Voltaire, Letter to Jeanne-Grâce Bosc du Bouchet, comtesse d’Argental (1748)