Welcome the the party! Meduza’s newsroom pulls up some chairs for Russia’s latest ‘foreign agent’ journalists at iStories and Dozhd
Russia’s registry of “foreign agent” journalists and media outlets now boasts a mighty 43 entries. The two latest organizations to debut on this list are Dozhd, the country’s only independent television network, and a small but daring investigative project called iStories. Respectively, these outlets are the 35th and 37th entries on a list that seems bound for triple digits.
Many people have grown fond of saying that the “foreign agent” mark is a sign of quality, believing that this is somehow comforting. It is not. Yes, there soon won’t be a single independent media outlet left in Russia that doesn’t bear this label, but “foreign agent” status is nothing less than discrimination. There is solidarity in laughter, but this is serious.
Whether we want it or not, journalism in Russia will never be the same (and life itself has changed irrevocably for many journalists, thanks to the Justice Ministry). Those who choose to stay in the profession face a difficult road ahead that is full of disappointments. What awaits us in the future? What will be our reward? Nothing, probably. Most likely, our only reward will be the opportunity, at least sometimes, to feel that our work is honest and our consciences are clean.
As the editors at iStories rightly noted in their response to being designated as “foreign agents,” the Justice Ministry’s list now includes “so many decent people and outlets that it’s simply indecent to be excluded.”
Welcome to the party, friends and colleagues! We have good days, too.