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Detention of Editor-in-Chief Highlights the Attacks on Journalism

Today, a court in Moscow sentenced Sergei Smirnov, editor-in-chief of the independent “Mediazona” news outlet, to 25 days in detention for “repeated violation” of the public assemblies’ rules. His offense? Retweeting a humorous tweet about Smirnov’…
The Editor-in-Chief of Mediazona, Sergey Smirnov, in front of Pskov Regional Court, after the trial of Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, Pskov, Russia, July 6 2020.
News

Irina Slavina’s Death Follows Police Raid on Her Apartment

Journalist and publisher Irina Slavina (Murakhtayeva) died after setting herself on fire on October 2, a day after a police raid on her apartment and following years of harassment by Russian authorities and others. Slavina ran Koza Press, an…
Irina Slavina poses in Nizhniy Novgorod, March 2019, in a photo posted to social media.
News

Authorities Abuse Criminal Justice to Silence Independent Media

Today, a Russian court sentenced journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva to a fine of 500,000 rubles (approx. USD$ 7000) on bogus terrorism charges. The conviction of the journalist, who works for the Echo of Moscow and Radio Free Europe, is another…
Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva (left) attends the trial in the Second Western District Military Court.
News

Authorities Should End Sham Prosecutions and Allow Free Debate

Today, the trial against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva is set to start in Pskov, Russia, on groundless charges of publicly supporting terrorism. Authorities have indicted her for “public incitement to terrorist activity, public justification or…
Светлана Прокопьева выступает на презентации книги в Москве.
News

Russia Needs More, not Less, Independent Reporting

This week brought the bombshell announcement that Ivan Safronov and Maxim Ivanov, two veteran reporters for Kommersant, were pressured into resigning, spurring the paper’s entire politics desk to quit in protest. The business newspaper…
A general view shows the Spasskaya Tower and the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, Russia, May 5, 2016.
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Authorities Say Posting is ‘Incitement to Terrorism’

In the early hours of May 18, a team of police and security officials raided the apartment of Viktor Korb, a journalist from Omsk. One of the agents shoved a search warrant in Korb’s face and the team conducted a 10-hour search, turning…
Russian journalist Viktor Korb.
News

Violent Attack on Echo of Moscow Reporter Reminder of Vitriol Against Kremlin Critics

Independent journalists have known for some time now that Russia is far from a safe place for them to work. Today’s violent attack on Tatyana Felgengauer, deputy editor of the Russian radio station Echo of Moscow, is a bone-chilling reminder of…
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4 Sentenced to Prison for Operating ‘Extremist Organization’

This week, a Moscow court found four members of the group For Responsible Government guilty of operating an “extremist organization” and handed down prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half to four years. One of them,…
Screenshot from video depicting, from left to right, Kirill Barabash, Alexander Sokolov, and Valery Parfenov in the courtroom, Moscow, August 10, 2017.
News

Annual Day Promotes Accountability for Attacks on the Media

For reporters at risk around the world – because they’re exposing corruption, covering conflict, or afflicting the comfortable – today matters: it’s the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. You’d think a group of professional…
Somali photojournalist runs for cover while reporting on fighting between the Somali government and African Union forces against the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, April 2012.
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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who will be in London next week to pitch foreign investment, is mired in political controversy at home. The corruption scandal involving the government-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad fund refuses to…
Malaysia's (L-R) Prime Minister Najib Razak and King Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah wave Malaysian national flags during National Day celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, August 31, 2015.
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The British government’s concern for the safety and well-being of the Yemeni people – already extremely feeble – reached a new low this week. In Geneva, Britain failed to actively promote a Dutch resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council that…
Damaged buildings in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, May 8, 2015.
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The Internet has been long described as an “island of freedom” in Russia’s dramatically shrinking space for free speech – the cyber inheritor of the kitchen, which was the only (relatively) safe place for debate in the Soviet era. But, alarmed by this…
News
As of today, the only television station in Crimea that broadcasts in Crimean Tatar, Ukrainian and Russian languages, ATR, ceased operating. It was forced to shut down because it was not able to re-register under Russian law by the April 1 deadline.   The…
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A much-anticipated government report officially acknowledges what Edward Snowden revealed to the world many months ago: the UK has been intercepting communications en masse. But rather than condemn the widespread snooping, the report endorses the so-…
News
Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
News
I do not recall a more dramatic silencing of the media in post-SovietRussia. First the editor ofLenta.ru, an independent, online news service, was fired on March 12, the day the news portal received a warning from Roskomnadzor, the Russian state body for…
News
Today’s Westminster debate on the role of the UK intelligence and security services is long overdue. Four months after the Guardian newspaper first published details of mass surveillance by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the US…
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When I received an email late Thursday from one “Edward Snowden” I was naturally skeptical. The invitation, supposedly from one of the world’s most sought-after people, had a whiff of Cold War-era spy thriller to it. The note instructed me to go to the…