Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Where To Now? The New Challenges to Russian Independent Media
Reserve Your Seat (CUID Only) Register for Zoom Webinar Watch on YouTube


Location Note

1219 International Affairs Building
420 W 118th St, 12th floor

This event is in-person for CUID card holders only. In-person attendees must be in compliance with Columbia University’s health protocols for returning to campus. Pre-registration, valid CUID card, valid green pass, and face covering are required for admittance. All other attendees may participate virtually on Zoom or YouTube.

Ann Cooper and Elise Giuliano will host the event at the Harriman Institute, joined by Roman Badanin and Galina Arapova over Zoom.


Please join the the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at the Harriman Institute as Ann Cooper, Professor Emerita at Columbia Journalism School, interviews Roman Badanin, founder and editor-in-chief of recently established investigative media outlet Agentstvo and former editor-in-chief of Proekt, and Galina Arapova, Director of the NGO Mass Media Defence Centre (Russia) and a practicing media lawyer who has defended journalists in Russian domestic courts and at the European Court of Human Rights. Moderated by Elise Giuliano (Harriman Institute).

Independent journalism in Russia currently faces the most difficult circumstances since the advent of free media in the country. As the Kremlin expands its use of coercion under the guise of legalistic categories such as “undesirable organization” and “foreign agent,” journalists and media organizations confront a set of serious challenges. How do journalists continue their professional work and interact with state authorities, while defending freedom of expression and their personal security? More generally, what is the role of the media under current political conditions?



Galina Arapova is an expert on media law and has worked in the field of freedom of expression and freedom of information in Russia since 1996. She is director and senior media lawyer at the Mass Media Defence Centre (Russia), a prominent Russian freedom of expression and media protection NGO. A practicing media lawyer with extensive experience in defending media and journalists in domestic courts and before the European Court of Human Rights, Arapova has trained journalists, lawyers, and judges in Russia, CIS countries, and Eastern Europe. She is a member of the Russian Press Council (a media self-regulation body), a board member of the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (Leipzig, Germany), and a member and advisor of the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, an international expert body established in 2019. For over twelve years, Arapova was a trustee and vice-chair on the international board of the media freedom organization ARTICLE 19 (London, UK). She was awarded a special FOE protection award from the Russian Union of Journalists and the Anna Politkovskaya freedom of media prize “Camerton” for courage in media defense, and was a 2016 winner of the International Bar Association’s Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights.


Roman Badanin is a John S. Knight Senior International Fellow at Stanford University, and the founder and editor-in-chief of the recently established investigative media outlet Agentstvo ( and former editor-in-chief of investigative outlet Proekt. Both projects focus on data journalism and investigate topics such as the corrupt relations between authorities and oligarchs, or the Kremlin’s control over the information space. Prior to Proekt, Badanin worked at Dozhd, RBC, and the Russian edition of Forbes magazine as an editor-in-chief. He has also worked at Gazeta.Ru as deputy editor-in-chief. Badanin has been affiliated with the Gorbachev Foundation and the Russian Academy of Sciences as a researcher.


Ann Cooper is an award-winning journalist, former executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Professor Emerita at Columbia Journalism School. Cooper’s voice was well known to National Public Radio listeners as NPR’s first Moscow bureau chief, covering the tumultuous events of the final five years of Soviet communism. She co-edited a book, Russia at the Barricades, about a failed 1991 coup attempt. As a Spring 2020 fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, she published Conveying Truth: Independent Media in Putin’s Russia, which traces the history of independent Russian media from the glasnost era to the coronavirus pandemic.



Event Video


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