Ersan Ay/ TR724.com
Due to human rights violations in repressive regimes, many individuals are forced to leave their countries and seek refuge in other nations. Meanwhile, in this oppressive environment where freedom of the press and freedom of expression are disregarded, and critical voices are silenced, numerous media channels or journalists, either as organizations or individuals, are compelled to operate in other countries as they can no longer pursue their work within their own nations.
Authoritarian regimes undermine democratic values and erode the institutions required by the rule of law, consolidating power by destroying independent media and eliminating transparency and accountability.
Media, defined as the fourth estate, has transformed into a propaganda tool for the regime in autocratic countries, prompting those who strive for media, press, and expression freedom to attempt to make their voices heard abroad. Journalists, hindered from fulfilling their work through methods such as smear campaigns, imprisonment, threats, intimidation, physical attacks, and the unlawful seizure of institutions, endeavor to amplify their voices while in exile and resist autocratic regimes from their new locations, as practicing journalism within their home countries is no longer viable.
Simone Benazzo, a PhD student at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), aims to systematically collect and organize firsthand data on the phenomenon of multi-layered media in exile through a project supported by the Media and Journalism Research Center (MJRC).
The study encompasses 82 media institutions attempting to practice journalism in exile from 30 different countries, including TR724. These exiled media organizations are described as key players in the global effort to resist autocratization and reverse democratic regression.
It is emphasized that the exiled media of Russia, Belarus, Iran, and North Korea have established and well-rooted networks, while the Turkish media network in exile is rapidly expanding. These media networks often serve as the sole reliable and verified sources of information regarding these countries.
Due to restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, journalists are compelled to leave countries such as Russia, Iran, Belarus, and Turkey. They often choose countries like the United States, primarily the UK and Germany, as platforms to amplify their voices.
The study sheds light on the various challenges faced by exiled journalists, including psychological burdens, longing for their homeland, financial difficulties, adapting to new cultures, work environments, and often, new languages. Nevertheless, these exiled media organizations choose not to capitulate, but to persist in their resistance.