The situation in Russia’s media is unprecedented. Restrictions on reporting are increasingly severe, and access to almost all independent outlets is blocked or limited – or they censor themselves.
Despite this, it is still possible to obtain uncensored information in Russia.
For most Russians, television remains the main source of the news. It is firmly controlled by the Kremlin and pumps out relentless war propaganda. Ukrainians are said to shell their own cities, and Russian troops are presented as liberators.
The fact that the majority of Russians tune in to TV news means they are inclined to at least hear the Kremlin’s message – and possibly believe it.
There is more variety of opinion in the press, but it still largely sticks to the Kremlin line. A stalwart of independent reporting for almost 29 years, the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, suspended operations on 28 March after receiving warnings from Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor.
Online, most independent news websites are blocked or restricted, and so are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
But crucially, these blocks are relatively easy to bypass.
By now, anyone in Russia who is reasonably savvy with computers and smartphones will be familiar with tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs), which help to circumvent the restrictions.
They are not yet outlawed in Russia, and they are what millions of Russians are using to access uncensored information.