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You're reading: Brian Bonner: How a free press should work

Such attitudes are expected from businesspeople and officials schooled in the Soviet Union or even in modern-day Russia, where Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has throttled real journalism – especially on the national TV airwaves – during his 12 years (and counting) of authoritarian rule.

But sources from Western Europe and America should know better, unlike the Ukrainian oligarchs, politicians and government officials who still enforce a loyalty code before granting interviews.

Even these tame interviews are often followed up by press secretaries or PR spin doctors who want to airbrush out remarks that they think will harm their client-bosses. About a year ago, a Ukrainian opposition leader who fashions his image as a modern democrat, refused to give an interview to the Kyiv Post because we wouldn’t submit the questions in advance or let him edit the answers.

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