By preventing independent media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian authorities are only contributing to increased risk for the population, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international non-governmental organization, calls on the Russian government not to obstruct independent media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and to stop harassing journalists who write about it for spreading false information. A statement to this effect was published by the RSF on its website on Wednesday 13 May.
According to Reporters Without Borders, since the beginning of the pandemic in Russia, hundreds of journalistic materials on coronavirus have been blocked. “By preventing independent coverage of the crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the Russian leadership is not only contributing to increased uncertainty, but is also putting the population in real danger,” said Christian Mihr, head of Reporters Without Borders in Germany.
“Only with the help of realistic figures and realistic description of reality can effective protection measures be taken (from coronavirus. – Ed.). Threatening media workers with prison fines in this situation is absolutely counterproductive,” added Mihr.
Anti-coronavirus measures and journalistic work
Among other things, RFS refers to the statement of the Russian organization Union of Journalists and Mass Media Workers (UJW), which criticizes the measures taken in Russia to combat the coronavirus, in particular, the introduction of electronic passes for leaving the house, as complicating the work of journalists.
In addition, the organization “Reporters without Borders” quotes an open letter published at the end of April by members of the journalistic association “Syndicate 100,” the authors of which claim that in Russia, “the epidemic is actively used to put pressure on journalists” and criticize the introduction of criminal liability for the distribution of fakes of coronavirus.
In the ranking of “Reporters without Borders” on the level of freedom of speech, Russia is on 149th place out of 180.