In a lengthy, front-page article today, the New York Times investigates how Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has increasingly deployed the Kremlin-controlled TV networks as a political tool to silence his opponents.
In particular, the article takes a look at the existence of a so-called "stop list," which the Times describes as "a roster of political opponents and other critics of the government who have been barred from TV news and political talk shows by the Kremlin."
"In interviews, journalists said that they did not believe the Kremlin kept an official master stop list, but that the networks kept their own, and that they all operated under an informal stop list – an understanding of the Kremlin’s likes and dislikes," reports the Times.
According to the Times, the stop list isn’t just limited to politicians, and seems to more or less include any notable public figure who has criticized Mr. Putin’s government, ranging from a rock group that took place in a political demonstration to a group of actors who poked fun of Mr. Putin during a public awards ceremony.
"Indeed, political humor in general has been exiled from TV," reports the Times.