Information hero

Svetlana Reiter

When Svetlana Reiter received the Politprosvet political journalism award in 2013, she felt she had to remind people that she was interested mainly in social issues. This is the paradox of a country where the political and the social are intertwined more and more closely. It is also characteristic of a form of everyday journalism at ground level, far removed from ideology and power games. Reiter has taken a close interest in the prison system and police violence, she has spoken to autistic children and campaigners promoting alternative policies of fighting drug abuse… She has given a voice to a young Armenian attacked by nationalists and to the police officers who rescued him, suggesting that behind the stories of bloodshed and hate reported in the media, there are others of “decency, hope and friendship”. It was her investigations into the political prisoners held after the Bolotnaya Square protests and police violence in Kazan that won her the Politprosvet award. It was other stories that brought her problems. In September 2012, she was summoned by the FSB security service for questioning about an interview about torture in Chechnya, as a witness in an investigation into the chairman of the Committee Against Torture. In March this year, Reiter and most of her colleagues at, left the previously independent news site after it was abruptly taken under Kremlin control.