The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today
launched ‘Partial Justice' report, a review into the deaths of more than 300 Russian journalists since 1993, at a conference in Moscow hosted by the Russian Union of Journalists.
"The murder of Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006
shocked the world. Yet for every Anna, there have been many less widely known
journalists killed for their work across Russia,"
said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.
"For the first time this report and the accompanying
database present a comprehensive record of these murders, whether taking place
in cross-fires in conflict zones, or homicide and contract killings, whether
journalists killed for their work or in unexplained accidents, or even for
The IFJ review shows that of the 313 journalists'
deaths in Russia since 1993
124 have died as a direct result of their journalism;
- 19 were clearly murdered for their journalism and another 19 cases reveal strong evidence to suggest they were also killed for their work, most of whom died outside and far from Moscow ;
- 189 of the deaths appear to be unrelated to their work.
The report also reveals that the total impunity that
existed for killers of journalists until 1997 has gradually receded and that an
increasing number of investigations have led to prosecutions and a form of
The ten cases brought to trial of journalists killed
for their work since 1997 saw a 50 per cent conviction rate. Of these, however,
only two led to the jailing of all those responsible for the murder.
Crucially, the report confirms that the masterminds
of attacks on journalists are getting away with murder. Over the past 15 years
those who ordered the killings and arranged for the hire of assassins and their
payment have hardly ever been charged, let alone prosecuted.
The report examines six case studies of killed
journalists in depth, reviewing the circumstances around the death, the
response of the authorities and the reasons behind the failure of the
investigation. These analyses reveal the
weaknesses of the investigations by police and the prosecutor's office,
especially when dealing with the targeted killings of journalists.
A data base launched alongside the report details the
circumstances surrounding the deaths of more than 300 journalists in Russia.
The first of its kind http://journalists-in-russia.org/journalists/ classifies these deaths (and disappearances) into five different categories -,
homicide, accident, crossfire, terrorist act, incident not confirmed and
The report includes the following recommendations to
the Russian authorities:
Measures must be taken to tackle the total impunity
that persists in parts of the country where no one has yet been prosecuted for
the murder of a journalist, in particular the North Caucasus (including
Chechnya) and St Petersburg.
Greater support should be provided for investigations
and prosecutions where a journalist has been killed for their work.
Crimes against journalists often have distinctive
features; the Prosecutor General's office should establish a nationwide
database on journalists' crimes to identify these features and develop
guidelines to maximize chances of successful investigations.
Some crimes, particularly contract killings, would
benefit from being investigated by teams from outside the region where they
have been committed.
Findings of investigations should be accessible for
review by victim's families and lawyers.
Consider making the killing of a journalist a more
"The world journalists' community is
grateful to all the monitors and researchers who worked hard to produce
the most outstanding record of journalists killed in Russia,"
added Boumelha. "It is now up to government agencies, prosecutors and the
police to act swiftly in bringing the killers to justice and to make journalism
The review is an initiative of the International Federation
of Journalists in collaboration with the Russian
Union of Journalists, the Glasnost Defence Foundation and the Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations. This is
part of world Congress in Moscow
further information contact IFJ on +
32 2 235 22 07 (+32 473 973 837)
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide