“The state is waging a war on free speech,” Russian journalists say in damning video
With press freedom now being persecuted in Russia with an intensity not seen since the Soviet Union’s fall, three Russian journalists have described the rapid decline and their vision of journalism’s future in their country in a video made for Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
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Almost every week, more independent Russian journalists and media outlets are added to the government’s list of “foreign agents,” a derogatory label that is accompanied by extremely restrictive measures.
Since 20 August, the victims have included Roman Anin, the founder and editor of the investigative news website Vazhnye Istorii (“Important Stories"), who was already harassed in connection with his reporting last April. Yegor Skovoroda’s media outlet, Mediazona, the leading source of coverage of police and judicial abuses, was declared a “foreign agent” on 29 September.
Svetlana Prokopyeva, an independent journalist based in the northwestern city of Pskov who works for Radio Svoboda (the Russian-language service of the US broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), was meanwhile convicted of “justifying terrorism” in connection with a radio commentary in July 2020 and is on the official list of “terrorists and extremists.”
All three describe their experiences and express their views in this video for RSF:
The profiles of these journalists appear in a new book* entitled “They keep journalism alive in Russia!” that was published on the 15th anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian investigative journalist who covered the Second Chechen War for the Moscow-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
The day after this tragic anniversary, the newspaper’s long-time editor, Dmitri Muratov, was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. He dedicated it to the six Novaya Gazeta employees who have been killed in connection with their work.
Russia is ranked 150th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.
*Published by Les Petits Matins in partnership with RSF, Russie-Libertés, Amnesty International France, the magazine Esprit and the Nouveaux Dissidents, the book was edited by Johann Bihr, it has preface by the Russia specialist Marie Mendras, and has a postscript by Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.