Censorship of the Military Press during the War in Afghanistan

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Vladimir I. Timofeev

Doctor of Political Science, Associate Professor, Professor at the Chair of Communication Technologies, Moscow State Linguistic University, Moscow, Russia

e-mail: Timvlad-60@yandex.ru

Section: Essay

This paper deals with the issue of the censorship bans operating in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. At that time, a limited contingent of Soviet troops was deployed in Afghanistan, and the ongoing war was covered in mass media in a laconic and biased manner. To a great extent, it was so because of the Soviet censorship system performing a controlling and prohibitive function. The paper considers the hierarchy of censorship levels, characterizes their role in the control over media content and in measured coverage of events related to the deployment of the contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan and its participation in combat action. The author of the paper examines the documentation sources of the censorship bans mass media were obliged to comply with. It is found that under the influence of political changes in the country these bans tended to be relaxed, yet they ensured political and ideological control over media themes and content, which manifested itself in restrictions on distributing full and reliable information about the events in Afghanistan. In order to achieve the aim of the study, the author uses his personal observations as he repeatedly went to Afghanistan as a correspondent of Frunzevets, a newspaper of the Turkestan Military District. This fact makes it possible to demonstrate not only the practice of censoring the military press but also the ways war correspondents got around the censorship bans.

Keywords: censorship, censorship bans, war in Afghanistan, war correspondents
DOI: 10.30547/vestnik.journ.2.2019.173194


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