Freedom of the press in Russia

Press freedom index[1] Good situation Satisfactory situation Obvious problems Difficult situation Very serious situation Not classified / No data

The Freedom of the press in Russia it refers both to the ability of media directors to implement independent policies and to the ability of journalists to access sources of information and work without external pressure. Russian media includes radio and television channels, periodicals and Internet media, which according to the laws of the Russian Federation can be state or private.

In 2022, Russia was ranked 155th out of 180 countries in the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. In the Freedom House report Freedom of the press de In 2017 Russia scored 83 points (of which 100 are the worst), mainly due to new laws introduced in 2014 which further extended state control over the media. Freedom House called the situation even worse in Crimea where, following the annexation of Russia in 2014, both Russian jurisdiction and Freedom House out-of-court means are routinely applied to restrict freedom of expression.[2]

Multiple international organizations criticize various aspects of the contemporary situation of press freedom in Russia. The Russian government practices internet censorship.[3]

Legislative framework[editar]

The Russian constitution establishes freedom of speech and of the press; however, government law enforcement, bureaucratic regulation and politically motivated criminal investigations have forced the press to exercise self-censorship by limiting its coverage of some controversial topics, resulting in a violation of these rights. According to Human Rights Watch, the Russian government exercises control over civil society through selective law enforcement, restriction and censorship.

Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman)[editar]

The Russian Ombudsman, officially appointed Commissioner for Human Rights, is appointed by Parliament for a fixed term. The ombudsman cannot be removed before the end of his term and is not subordinate to any body of power, including the president or the government.[4]All 83 administrative regions of Russia have the right to elect a local ombudsman whose authority is limited to that region, less than half did so.[5]

Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin reported in 2006 that to suggest that freedom of expression does not exist in Russia would be an exaggeration, in practice the constitutional right to freedom of expression is observed, as well as that there is no institutionalized censorship. For these same reasons, it appears that journalists and publishers rarely appeal to the commissioner to protest restrictions on their right to seek, receive, transfer, publish or distribute information. However, there are concealed restrictions to a considerable extent, often imposed through economic pressures on the media by loyal authorities and businesses. The so-called “self-censorship” is also very widespread, which induces journalists to refrain from disseminating information which, in their opinion, may not be to the satisfaction of the authorities. So in many places.

In the 2008 annual report, Vladimir Lukin wrote that it is important to have a full legal interpretation of terms that can restrict freedom of thought and speech. He spoke out against the amendment to the electoral law which is “a practical ban” on contesting criticism of candidates, obviously calling it excessive, and Lukin criticized the Anti-Extremist Activities Act, noting that extremism and dissent must be strictly legally divided. .[6]

Attacks and threats to journalists[editar]

The dangers to journalists in Russia have been well known since the early 1990s, but concerns over the number of unsolved murders have increased since the murder of Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow on 7 October 2006. While international observers have spoken of several dozens of deaths, some sources within Russia spoke of over two hundred deaths.

On 15 December each year, the Day of Remembrance of journalists killed on the line of duty in Russia is celebrated.

attacks on journalists[editar]

Since the early 1990s, several Russian journalists who have covered the situation in Chechnya with controversial stories about organized crime, state and administrative officials and big business have been killed. According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists since 1992, 50 journalists were killed for their professional activity in Russia (making it the third deadliest country for journalists in the period 1992-2006), 30 journalists from 1993 to 2000 and 20 journalists from 2000.[7]

According to the Glasnost Defense Foundation, there were 9 cases of suspected deaths of journalists in 2006, as well as 59 attacks on journalists and 12 attacks on newsrooms. In 2005, the list of all cases included 7 deaths, 63 assaults, 12 attacks on newsrooms, 23 incidents of censorship, 42 criminal proceedings, 11 illegal dismissals, 47 cases of militsiya detention, 382 trials, 233 cases of obstruction, 23 newsroom closures, 10 evictions, 28 confiscations of paper production, 23 cases of transmission interruptions, 38 refusals of distribution or paper production, 25 acts of intimidation and 344 other violations of the rights of Russian journalists.[8]

On 7 October 2006, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, known for her criticism of Russia’s actions in Chechnya and the pro-Russian Chechen government, was shot dead in the atrium of her apartment building. Politkovskaya’s death sparked an outcry of criticism of Russia in the Western media with allegations that Vladimir Putin failed at best to protect the country’s newly independent media.

The International Press Institute reports on the selective use of regulations, criminal investigations for political reasons, the incarceration of journalists, the closure of the media and aggressive harassment by the security services. According to the organization, Russia remains the most dangerous European country for journalists, with four deaths in 2009.

Amnesty International reported in 2009 that human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers who spoke out about human rights violations faced threats and intimidation. Police seemed reluctant to investigate such threats and a climate of impunity prevailed for attacks on civil society activists. Amnesty International also reported a “climate of growing intolerance towards independent opinion”. According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, Russia is a more dangerous place now than it was during the Cold War. Only Iraq and Algeria top the list of most life threatening countries for the press.[9]

In October 2016, a group of Chechen journalists published a dramatic and anonymous appeal to the British newspaper The Guardian describing the intimidation and physical attacks they are undergoing under Ramzan Kadyrov’s rule and the total control that officials exercise over media communication. in the republic.[10]

The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is concerned about the current situation in Russia.

“In the face of the alarming incidence of threats, violent attacks and killings of journalists and human rights defenders, which has created a climate of fear and a chilling effect on the media, including those working in the North Caucasus, and regrets the lack effective measures taken to protect the right to life and safety of these people.[11]

  • In August 2014, Pskov editor Lev Shlosberg, a member of the opposition Yabloko party, suffered a severe attack that left him unconscious. He claims that the attack was related to his newspaper’s investigation of the deployment of Russian soldiers from Pskov to Ukraine.
  • In August 2014, investigative journalist Aleksandr Krutov was attacked and beaten in Saratov for the fourth time in his 20-year career while covering crimes for a local publication.
  • In September 2014, a TV crew reporting fraud was attacked in Novosibirsk. His equipment was destroyed and the cameraman was injured.
  • In December 2014, in Novosibirsk, chief editor of was beaten by two men on the website premises.
  • On 30 July 2018, Orkhan Dzhemal (son of Geydar Dzhemal) was killed along with director Alexander Rastorguev and cameraman Kirill Radchenko in the Central African Republic while filming a documentary on the activities of illegal Russian military formations in the Central African Republic.[12]
  • In June 2019, investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested and allegedly beaten in custody.
  • In 2021, Roman Dobrokhotov left Russia after the FSB placed him on the “wanted” list for allegedly “illegal border crossing”.[13]


  • In February 2011, the reporter from The Guardian, Luke Harding from Great Britain was denied entry to Russia, contrary to OECD regulations. He became the first foreign journalist to be expelled from Russia since the end of the Cold War. Some have linked his ouster to an unflattering cover-up of Russia, including speculation about Vladimir Putin’s wealth. On February 9, Russia overturned the decision.
  • In July 2014, Ukrainian journalist Yevgeniy Agarkov (1 + 1 TV) was arrested in Voronezh while reporting on the trial of a Ukrainian prisoner of war. He was accused of denying authorization and was sentenced, deported and suspended for five years.
  • In September 2014, a team from the BBC was attacked in Astrakhan while investigating the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, which the Kremlin still denies at this point. They had their equipment destroyed.
  • In 2015, an Australian journalist Helen Womack, who spent more than 30 years reporting from Russia, was denied accreditation after appearing on a nationalist-run “Russia Enemies List” website and was forced to leave the country.[14]
  • Also in 2015, after the documentary about Russian soldiers who served in the battle of Donbas, Simon Ostrovsky was denied accreditation in Russia.
  • Wacław Radziwinowicz was expelled in December 2015.
  • Thomas Nilsen, editor of The Observer of Barentswas declared persona non grata in November 2016
  • Sarah Rainsford was banned from working in Russia in August 2021.[15]


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