The International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate, the
Russian Union of Journalists, last week marked the fifth anniversary of the murder
of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya with the launch of its ‘Russia –
Conflicts in the Media’ database that records all attacks on journalists in
The database is the latest stage in the IFJ’s campaign to end the
culture of impunity for journalists’ attackers that took off in the wake of
Politkovskaya’s 2006 stairwell shooting.
While the IFJ welcomed further progress made in the announcement of new
prosecutions last week, it notes that those who ordered the killings remain
“While those behind Politkovskaya’s brutal killing remain free all
journalists are forced to work in the shadow of fear,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ
President. “It brings shame on the Russian judicial system that the instigators
of her death continue to roam free five years later.”
A summary of the status of the investigation into Politkovskaya’s murder
can be found in the IFJ’s database on Killed Russian Journalists (http://journalists-in-russia.org/)
launched in 2009. This resource also reveals that over the past 18 years in
only one case was the person who ordered the killing of a journalist convicted. In all the other cases only the immediate perpetrators
have been put on trial and the number of acquittals has been exceptionally high
by any standards.
The IFJ’s new database, ‘Russia – Conflicts in the Media’, compiling
seven years of information collected by the Glasnost Defence Foundation and its
monitors, reveals that for every killing at least ten journalists have been
severely beaten and many hundreds more threatened for their work. It underlines
the need to tackle the broader abuse of journalists that has allowed an atmosphere
of violence to intimidate their work if the killings are to end, says the IFJ.
The database documents on an almost daily basis, a wide range of
incidents – from censorship and criminal prosecution, to threats and assaults.
It exposes a disturbing lack of response by the authorities to the widespread
level of violence against journalists. It also tells the story of successful
battles against unlawful dismissal, unfounded charges of defamation and of
incitement to hatred against various social groups.
This new campaigning resource gives a voice to journalists across Russia
that will enable them to address the authorities where and when they fail to confront
the plight of journalists.
“Attacks on journalists are attacks on the broader public interest and the
right to know,” said Arne König, President of the European Federation of
Journalists. “This database can serve as a model for journalists’ unions
wherever their members come under regular attack.”
The work is the result of five years of collaboration between the IFJ,
the Russian Union of Journalists, the Glasnost Defence Foundation and the
Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations.
To access the ‘Russia- Conflicts in the Media’ site go to: http://mediaconflictsinrussia.org
Also visit IFJ database on killed Russian Journalists at: http://journalists-in-russia.org/