Good evening, Netizens...
As stated earlier, I spent a portion of the week with Mary Carr and her delightful band of Russian journalists who headed on their 18 hour flight home to Moscow quite early this morning. Loathing prolonged air flights as I do, I couldn't help but feel some pity for them, even allowing for the fact they will be changing planes three times.
However, the highlight of the entire week for me was the meeting with them at Franky Doodles Friday morning to discuss Blogging and journalism. Present were the four journalists, translator Larissa Kulinich, Marty Hibbs, Mary Carr and myself.
Although I had no preconceptions about our meeting, I did wonder in the dark corners of my mind whether or not the Russian journalists were under any constraints about what they could say, whether or not they were being censored, as in the former days of the KGB.
Toward the end of our meeting, when I could no longer hold it back, I sprang with the question whether there were any constraints upon what they could or could not say. When the answer to that question was affirmative, I barely waited for the translator before I asked whether any of them had ever been told they could be imprisoned or executed for writing something objectionable to the Russian Government. Once again, the answer was yes.
I walked away from our discussion of Blogging with a much-clearer understanding of the freedoms we take for granted here in the United States, compared to Russia. As one of the members of the group said, “It is getting better.” However, from my perspective, they have a long way to go before they can freely express themselves, and that their Blogs, such as they are, have a long ways to go before they will enjoy true literary or journalistic freedom. However, so long as there are endeavors such as those undertaken by Mary Carr, there is always hope for the future.