November 27, 2017

Murder attempt against Volgograd website editor

Credit: Bloknot Volgograda

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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a full and impartial investigation into an attempt to murder Yulia Zavyalova, the editor of an independent news website in the southwestern city of Volgograd, where someone sabotaged the brakes of her car on the night of 25 November.

“The sabotaging of Yulia Zavyalova’s car sends an unacceptable intimidatory message to her and her colleagues in Volgograd,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “The police and the prosecutor's office must do everything possible to identify those responsible for this act, which could have had tragic consequences.”

According to Zavyalova, the sabotaging of her car must have been linked to her journalistic work. The police announced that they have requested a “forensic report” on the damage done to her brakes.

But her website, Bloknot Volgograda, reported that the incident has so far been categorized as no more than a case of “damage to another person’s property.”

One of the region’s most popular news websites, Bloknot Volgograda, is critical of the local authorities and often provides investigative reporting on corruption cases. Impunity for violence against journalists is a recurrent problem in Russia, which is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.