Martha Brill Olcott: A pen to hire
A journalist who sells thre voice is a disgrace to the profession. But the damage that can be cause by bribed journalist is limited: his or her opinion is one of many in the chorus of a free press.
It is much more dangerous when pen is sold by an “independent expert”, who is working under the roof of a respected research center. Because information provided by such centers helps to shape its policies to the government and the Congress.
Meet Martha Olcott — the person whose business card reads “senior associate with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C.” This is an influential foundation, trusted by politicians in Washington. Members of Congress do not have the time and opportunity to follow and understand what is happening today in Central Asia. Instead, they rely heavily on reports of think tanks — the Carnegie Foundation as well.
It is believed that such centers, staffed by “independent experts”, are the most reliable source of objective information. But not when its experts find a path to the dictator’s palace and begin to sell their services.
Martha Brill Olcott, a former hardline critic of the Nazarbayev’s regime, arrived in Almaty in 2007 to visit the Eurasian Media Forum.