The Impunity Project

The “Russia – Conflicts in the Media” website is the continuation of the Impunity Project started by an international partnership of journalists’ unions and media rights organizations in 2007.

The two phases have involved the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ, Brussels), its member organization the Russian Union of Journalists (Moscow), and Russia’s media monitors – the Glasnost Defence Foundation and the Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations.

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The new database “Conflicts in the Media” and the other resources assembled on this website (articles by monitors, overview of legislation, annual survey of media freedom and violations) complement the earlier database, which covered Deaths and Disappearances of Journalists in Russia since 1993. The latter was launched in June 2009 together with the Partial Justice report. Today that database contains the names of 315 journalists and media workers who have gone missing or died violent, premature or unexplained deaths in Russia over the past twenty years.

The pioneering work on the first database was carried out by John Crowfoot (IFJ) and programmer Tim Almond. Damian Counsell helped to refine that version and, with John Crowfoot and Boris Timoshenko (GDF), created a first draft of the new database. The project’s next webmaster was Yevgeny Balychev. A selection of the second database’s reports may be read in English each week in the GDF Digest.

The purpose of the “Deaths and Disappearances” database was, one, to pinpoint which among the many recorded deaths of journalists in Russia since 1993 were targeted and work-related killings and, two, monitor the level of impunity for such violence. The new database, which currently documents over 2,300 incidents, has a wider and more pro-active role. As well as deaths it also records instances of assault, criminal prosecution, threats, dismissal, censorship and arrest. The “Conflicts in the Media” database therefore offers a broad picture of the changing situation in different parts of the Russian Federation. More specifically, it provides an early warning of the emergence of particular threats, whether directed against the media of a region or against an individual journalist.

We are indebted to the Open Society Institute (London)  which, through the IFJ, funded both these stages of the ongoing Impunity Project and has taken an active interest in its creation and further development. We also wish to thank the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media for enabling us to add past years’ records to this database.

updated 3/03/2014

Contacts for this project

John Crowfoot, IFJ analyst (London) – [crowfoot@uwclub.net]
Boris Timoshenko, GDF head of monitoring (Moscow) – [boris@gdf.ru]

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