IFJ Supports Russian Union as It Sets Plans for “Battles and Challenges Ahead”

Over one thousand members of the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) gathered in Sochi on the Black Sea with the support of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for a four-day festival of journalism, the biggest of its kind.

IFJ President Jim Boumelha, addressing the official opening ceremony, paid tribute to the RUJ’s tradition of internationalism and thanked the journalists for the commitment and dedication of their union over the years to the cause of international solidarity.

The annual festival of Dagomys brings together journalists from all the regions of Russia to discuss the main issues of the day, debate solutions, showcase their achievements, agree on campaigning strategy and generally celebrate journalism.

This year’s festival took place only months after IFJ affiliates came to Moscow to participate in the 26th congress of the Federation and show solidarity with their Russian colleagues who continue to confront one of the most intense crises of democracy and human rights.

“Such festivals usually create an unprecedented opportunity for cross-fertilisation of experiences and aspirations. But far from being just a talking shop, Dagomys brought together hundreds of journalists eager to share views and information but also bring fresh ideas into their plans for the battles and challenges ahead,” said Boumelha.

The IFJ says that the crisis of confidence caused by continuous impunity in the dozens of cases of killed journalists and the increased political interference in the run up to parliamentary and presidential election is making a big dent in the capacity and confidence of Russian journalists.

The theme of the festival was about the crisis of trust. Scores of workshops, roundtables, master classes and tribunes took place during the four days. Self-regulation, investigative journalism, gender equality and quality in journalism were some of the themes hotly debated.

Prominent visitors and keynote speakers included political commentator Oleg Poptsov, the Dean of Moscow State University’s Journalism Faculty Yasen Zasursky, Professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences Anatoly Vishnevsky, member of the Russian Parliament Boris Reznik and prominent law-maker Professor Mikhail Fedotov as well as dozens of newspaper and magazine editors and prominent broadcasters.

“The most important question discussed by journalists coming from Moscow and all the regions was how to get trust back to society and authorities as well as to mass communications,” said RUJ President Vsevolod Bogdanov. “At the same time we try to find practical solutions on how to rebuild and strengthen our journalism and how we can continue debating the most important topics.”

For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide