Freedom of the press

Russian journalist Ivan Golunov cleared of charges after global outcry

Golunov at a warrant hearing on Saturday. Photo: Vladimir Gerdo\TASS via Getty Images

A Russian investigative journalist whose arrest on dubious drug charges was widely condemned — including on the front pages of three of Russia's biggest newspapers — will be cleared of all charges, according to his news outlet, Meduza.

Why it matters: This is a stunning reversal. The journalist, Ivan Golunov, was almost certainly targeted because of his work, and almost certainly freed because of the furious backlash — which extended even to state media. The police responsible for the arrest have reportedly been suspended, and the Kremlin has admitted mistakes were made.

Press freedom is eroding around the world

Data: Freedom House; Chart: Axios Visuals

Press freedom has fallen in 1 in 5 countries over the past 5 years, according to an annual report from Freedom House.

But, but, but: "Media freedom can recover much more quickly after a period of authoritarian governance than some other elements of democracy, such as the rule of law," the report notes.