It’s no secret that the Caucasus and Central Asia are inhospitable places for free speech and independent journalism. But a recent survey by IREX, an international organization that promotes civil society, found even countries that experienced so-called “color” revolutions have been unable to produce lasting, positive changes in their respective media environments.
In examining regional trends, experts said during a recent roundtable discussion that freedom of speech, mass media independence and related issues tended to improve immediately in Georgia after the 2003 Rose Revolution, as well as in Kyrgyzstan following the 2005 Tulip Revolution. But the gains proved fleeting, as the Georgian and Kyrgyz media environments over time have reverted to close to the point where they were before those revolutions, panelists said.
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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based freelance writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.