Media Freedom Is Under Attack

Ben Smith’s latest New York Times column is very good.

Here’s one paragraph:

I first met Ms. Ressa, and Mr. Gan’s co-founder, Premesh Chandran, and a half dozen digital media entrepreneurs from difficult places when I was running BuzzFeed, a high-profile new newsroom. They often came to our gleaming Manhattan headquarters, sat with me at long tables in our cafeteria and asked advice from an American company that was leading a global explosion of digital media outlets.

Here’s the next paragraph:

It quickly became clear that the premise of those conversations was ludicrous. I should have been seeking their advice. They had, on shoestring budgets and in the face of unrestrained government pressure, created the kind of mission-driven, scrappy and successful news sites that American start-ups dreamed of becoming. Malaysiakini, founded back in the long-ago Slate era, the 1990s, built the sort of robust subscription business that almost everyone is now trying to generate. When government attacks cost Rappler a third of its advertising in one month in 2018, it began doing data analysis for businesses to keep itself afloat. The Russian site Meduza started what became a breakout podcast network with a couple of microphones in a cramped apartment in Riga, Latvia. Its app includes a special setting for users in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, who would otherwise be blocked.

Taylor Dibbert is a writer and journalist. He’s the author of the Peace Corps memoir “Fiesta of Sunset,” and is seeking representation for his first novel.