• Civilmedia 08: Day 1: Civil Media in Russia: Challenges and Hopes (Victor Khroul)
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Civilmedia 08 – „Cultures – Participaton – Dialogue“: The Civilmedia is an annual international UnConference, organised by Radiofabrik Salzburg in co-operation with VFRÖ. This year it took place at the end of the „European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008“ from 4th to 6th of December. In bringing together international and national alternative media practitioners, researchers, policy makers, activists, and community development workers, Civilmedia08 reviewed the importance of community media and Web 2.0 for intercultural dialogue in Europe. More details at. http://www.civilmedia.eu/

Civil Media in Russia: Challenges and Hopes (Victor Khroul)
Several basic questions to be answered: Do civil media need civil society for their functioning? Does it exist in Russia? Are civil media possible in contemporary Russian society? To what extend? Is the audience ready to have civic media? Does it have enough opportunities for social control on public and private media? The possibility of civil media and civil journalism have been evidently proved by Anna Politkovskaya. She was an excellent example for all journalists for honest and brave reporting. For civil reporting. As Andrei Sakharov or Alexander Solzhenitsyn were „the conscience of the nation“, Anna Politkovskaya, I must say, was considered to be „the conscience of the journalism“ in Russia. After her death the dean of Moscow University Journalism Faculty Yassen Zassoursky said: „Our conscience was shot“.

Challenges and hopes for civil media in Russia Challenges:
†¢ Weak and tiny „middle class“
†¢ Pressure on the media on different levels
†¢ „Indirect“ types of censorship
†¢ Shortening space for civic initiatives
†¢ Poverty, lack of financial resources for independent activity

†¢ Many channels for learning of what civil media can be (traveling, studying, making personal contacts, open sources for distant education, etc)
†¢ Internet as cheap, independent and effective medium. Internet activity in Russia is growing and it is the main hope for the future of civil media in the country.