As Russia tries to expel Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Joe Biden must show that he’ll protect media rights in ways his predecessor didn’t.
When Joe Biden meets with Vladimir Putin tomorrow, huge numbers of news outlets will cover the story. One, however, stands to be part of the story.
Russia’s effort to expel Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (which is funded by, though editorially independent of, the United States government) from the country has received widespread attention. As the two presidents prepare to converge on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, the news service’s leaders are expecting—hoping—that Biden will take a stand on the threats facing it and other independent media in Russia in a way that his predecessor, Donald Trump, did not.
It’s an undesirable position for any news organization to be in, though not one that RFE/RL is unfamiliar with. The outlet spent much of last year defending itself from the Trump administration’s concerted effort to wrest control of America’s international news broadcasters. Around the same time, the Kremlin began ramping up its own long-standing war with the service, mandating that it label all of its online content as being the product of a “foreign agent” and imposing hefty fines for its failure to comply, increasing the literal cost of the service remaining in Russia so much that it would have to consider withdrawing.