January 23, 2008 -- RFE/RL offices, Washington, DC
Freedom House, RFE/RL, and Radio Free Asia co-hosted a seminar entitled "Countering Anti-Democratic Strategies: Beating Russia, Iran, and China at their own game." The seminar, conducted under the Chatham House Rule, took place at RFE/RL's Washington DC offices and examined the increasingly advanced strategies used by authoritarian governments to achieve anti-democratic ends. Three specific governments were discussed -- Russia, Iran and China. Their governments are intensifying the use of modern technology and marketing insights to monopolize political debate in their countries and to restrict the activities of international broadcasters, NGOs, and other organizations supporting freedom of expression and democratic values.
The attendees represented a variety of organizations with expertise on this issue, including: Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, American Enterprise Institute, Carnegie Moscow Center, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Committee to Protect Journalists, National Endowment for Democracy, Open Society Institute, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Middlebury College, Princeton University, Stanford University, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Freedom House, Radio Free Asia, and RFE/RL.
This was the first in a series of discussions on this topic to be held in the coming months. The goal is to share information on the tactics of authoritarian governments and to bring about improved coordination among organizations that are on the receiving end of the authoritarians' repressive measures and strategies.