Wired News reports that Russians, including journalists, have been using blogs at LiveJournal.com to report news that won’t make it through the increasingly censored mainstream Russian media. In the most recent case, an dancer held hostage by the Chechen rebels used his cell phone to send messages to the outside which were posted on a LiveJournal page.
Of course, all this information was missed by both the Russian and global mainstream media — either by accident or design, it doesn’t matter which. And I’m certain that in the Anglo media to at least some degree the language barrier is responsible, since American and British media is so damned English-centric.
The language barrier presents a problem for the grassroots Internet, too, since most Americans and Brits can’t read Russian and so can’t easily propagate the news being leaked on Russian LiveJournals.
However, we can hope that the LiveJournal news reporting does reach its Russian audience, although computer use there is lower than in the US or UK. It seems to me that Russia could really use some pirate media right now to help spread the word that’s being kept out of the mainstream.