Rating

9

Qualities

  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples

Recommendation

When a  helicopter accident killed five skiers in the back country of Alaska in March 2021, the United States media didn’t treat it as big news. But it was big in the Czech Republic. One victim was the country’s richest man – billionaire Petr Kellner. The previous fall, his firm had purchased the influential Central European Media Enterprises from WarnerMedia, leading commentators to fear for press freedom and independence. As Jon Allsop describes in the Columbia Journalism Review, powerful oligarchs and governments post a threat to free, independent journalism across Eastern and Central Europe. 

Summary

In Eastern and Central Europe, oligarchs dominate the media.

In March, 2021 a helicopter accident in Alaska’s wilderness killed five people, including the Czech Republic’s richest man, billionaire Petr Kellner. The previous fall, his firm had spent more than a billion dollars for a majority interest in the sprawling Central European Media Enterprises – which includes the Czech TV station Nova and more than 30 networks in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria – purchased from WarnerMedia, an American company.

At the time of the purchase, commentators raised red flags about press freedom and independence. Not only did Kellner have conflicts of interest regarding Russia and China, but oligarchs taking over media companies had become a common...

About the Author

Freelance journalist Jon Allsop writes Columbia Journalism Review‘s newsletter “The Media Today.”


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