The Russian government has tightened control over all media platforms, but it’s been especially active in corralling the Internet. News programs and other video content from state Russian television will soon flood top news websites in Russia, creating a monolithic news agenda in a market where independent media outlets have all but disappeared.
According to a new agreement between Pervyi Kanal (state-owned Channel One) and the media holding Rambler & Co., websites like Gazeta.Ru and Lenta.Ru will carry the government-controlled channel’s daily news bulletins, while other websites from the holding might rebroadcast Pervyi’s films, documentaries, and sports programming.
TJournal.ru points out that examples of embedded video content from Pervyi Kanalare already available on Lenta.ru, like this conspiratorial piece about U.S. and U.K. ‘agents’ in Germany. The 34-second video is dropped squarely in the middle of the news story, cutting it in half.
Out of Sight
The Internet delivered on its promise of community for blind people, but accessibility is easy to overlook.
I have been blind since birth. I’m old enough to have completed my early schooling at a time when going to a special school for blind kids was the norm. In New Zealand, where I live, there is only one school for the blind. It was common for children to leave their families when they were five, to spend the majority of the year far from home in a school hostel. Many family relationships were strained as a result. Being exposed to older kids and adults with the same disability as you, however, can supply you with exemplars. It allows the blind to see other blind people being successful in a wide range of careers, raising families and being accepted in their local community. A focal point, such as a school for the blind, helps foster that kind of mentoring.
The Internet has expanded the practical meaning of the word community. New technology platforms aren’t often designed to be accessible to people unlike the designers themselves, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t used by everyone who can. For blind people, the Internet has allowed an international community to flourish where there wasn’t much of one before, allowing people with shared experiences, interests, and challenges to forge a communion. Just as important, it has allowed blind people to participate in society in ways that have often otherwise been foreclosed by prejudice. Twitter has been at the heart of this, helping bring blind people from many countries and all walks of life together. It represents one of the most empowering aspects of the Internet for people with disabilities — its fundamentally textual nature and robust API supporting an ecosystem of innovative accessible apps has made it an equalizer. Behind the keyboard, no one need know you’re blind or have any other disability, unless you choose to let them know.