Report on seven Russian regions: as many reasons for hope as for concern

Reporters without Borders releases a report today on the freedom of the press and media in seven of the Russian Federation’s regions. Entitled “Heroes and Henchmen. The work of journalists and media in the Russian regions“, it was researched and written by the organization’s German section in Berlin. The report offers a systematic analysis of the media situation in regions ranging from Arkhangelsk in the north to Sochi in the south, and from Perm in the Urals to Vladivostok in the Far East. The research was carried out by a team of five correspondents who looked at the pressures and dangers affecting local press. As a result, the report highlights the existing leeways and points at the regions where free speech is obstructed. Various factors were analyzed, including the pressure exerted by the local authorities and businessmen, the impact of the economic conditions prevailing in each region, and the level of self-censorship. The report also shows how some media owners and editors are able to create conditions for independent journalism through innovation and effective business development models. These crucial questions drove the researchers’ attention on such specific factors as the existence of monopolies, distribution, the impact of the financial crisis, and the relations and various connections between the media and the political and business world. The report looks at both the restrictions imposed on journalists as well as the leeway they still enjoy. It highlights the degree to which media is subject to the influence of local politicians and oligarchs in regions where control from Moscow is low. While some journalists are resigned to the growing threats to their profession, others find ways to maintain their independence and even dare to report on critical issues. The report offers as many reasons for hope as for concern. Most importantly, by drawing attention to the differences in the provinces, the freedom of the press in Russia will not just be evaluated by soley concentrating on the situation of the Moscow media. Read in Russian/Читать на русском: Read the full report in German: Read summary of the report in English: Read summary of the report in Russian/Читать краткую версию на русском:
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Updated on 20.01.2016