Western media played a strategic role in undermining the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. In the ’50s and ’60s, Radio Free Europe beamed compelling news and cultural programming from Estonia to Romania. The BBC World Service was listened to everywhere for its straight-ahead news of the world. By the ’70s and ’80s, West German television offered a nightly vision of a freer, democratic lifestyle across the Berlin Wall. Soviet efforts to block radio and television were easily sidelined.
Today, that world has been turned upside down. The victors in the information war now are autocrats. The Great Chinese Firewall has succeeded in blocking the world from most Chinese citizens. The Chinese Communist Party has expelled many Western media sources, from the New York Times to Google. The Russians are demonstrating today their ability to blanket Ukraine with Russian disinformation. Meanwhile, they are slowly strangling any independent or foreign media access in