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Mediastan (2013)

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On the road with Wikileaks.

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Vladimir Gubanov ...
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Sultanbek Joumagulov ...
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Bill Keller ...
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Vladimir Komarov ...
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Anne-Charlotte Malm ...
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Marat Mamadshoev ...
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Alina Mityushova ...
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Enayat Najazafida ...
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Mehrabon Odinaev ...
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Babak Qayum ...
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Rassul Rysmambetov ...
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Andrey Skirka ...
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Storyline

The bleak, mountainous terrain and quiet, lonely roads set the tone for this compelling venture into the heart of 'the Stans'. The first stop is Asia Plus, a newspaper in Tajikistan. "If we were to talk too freely about our taboos, what kind of taboo would that be?" asks the Editor-in-Chief, Marat Mamadshoev, with a smile. "We'd rather get approval from our superior first..." he says nervously. "The Washington DC overlord of Asia Plus!" Given the go-ahead, the team pours over the material. Speaking over Skype, Assange warns, "Read all of it. If you go searching for particular things you will bring your own prejudice to the material." But as the Wikileaks team move on to their next meeting, soon the call comes, "the problem is that there are many things in the cables that we cannot publish...because we will get into trouble". At the offices of the Kazakh Telegraph Agency the team receive a more frosty reception. "Why have you come here? If an unskilled man gets access to this data it ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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A WikiLeaks Road Movie

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Release Date:

11 October 2014 (UK)  »

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Quotes

Johannes Wahlstrom: The point as far as I see it is that there are boundaries to free speech in the same way as there are boundaries to our thoughts and to our language and 'newspeak' is basically what we are dealing with. And these boundaries they look different in different countries but they always exist in either one way or another and that is called either censorship or conformism or self censorship or whatever it may be. We have a unique opportunity to actually just show where these boundaries are.
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User Reviews

 
Excellent documentary about pressures on media publishers
15 October 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The first thing that struck me about this documentary was how beautifully it was filmed. The stunning snow-capped mountain scenery of Central Asia in the opening shots got me hooked immediately. This is a road film that travels through some of the most remote and rugged territory in the world that is rarely seen by people in the West. It is where the old Silk Road used to run between Europe and China that is now a geopolitical battleground between East and West.

An intrepid team of Wikileaks supporters tours the capital cities of the "Stans", the Muslim states of former Soviet Central Asia, looking for local media organisations to partner with and to publish Cablegate files relevant to their countries. The interviews with local editors and journalists provide some sobering insights into the pressures on them from both local state authorities and their corporate owners. The negotiations with editors also shed light on the Wikileaks' approach to disclosures and the need to protect vulnerable people via redactions.

The team--including Swedish director Johannes Wahlstrom--enters a Swedish military base in northern Afghanistan and films a memorable encounter with the person in charge of development aid about the reality of her role in this military intervention.

The film ends up back in the West interviewing editors in the UK and US about the pressures they also face--hammering home the fact that it is not just publishers in dictatorships that face problems.

Highly recommended.


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