Stifling the Public Sphere: Media and Civil Society in Egypt, Russia, and Vietnam

Civil society and independent media play crucial roles in effective public policy-making and for improving public discourse. In countries such as Egypt, Russia, and Vietnam, it is clear that encouraging the development of civil society and independent media would help improve the quality of decision making on public policy, address rampant corruption, and more generally tackle the serious social and economic problems that each society faces. However, in these three cases, repression of civil society and the media is not just severe, but getting worse. These regimes’ political priorities compel them to systematically crack down on the very institutions that are essential for meaningful reform and economic progress.

To better understand the current environment for media and civil society in three key countries, the International Forum for Democratic Studies has produced “Stifling the Public Sphere: Media and Civil Society in Egypt, Russia, and Vietnam.” This report finds that while state-imposed limits on freedom of expression and association have produced an undeniably grim environment in all three cases, the existence of a powerful underlying desire for better information and more responsive governance remains. Please join us as report authors Zachary Abuza, Sherif Mansour, and Maria Snegovaya discuss how independent voices in these three countries are adapting to resist authoritarian repression.

Moderated by Christopher Walker, Executive Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies, the panelists include:

Zachary Abuza, Professor, National War College

Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists

Maria Snegovaya, PhD Candidate in Political Science, Columbia University, and Columnist, Vedomosti


October 15, 2015; 12:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M. (EST)


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Washington, DC 20004

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