Person of the Week: David Frenkel

Week-ending 3 July 2020

Photo of David Frenkel: Radio Svoboda

Journalist Assaulted at Polling Station During Vote on Putin’s Rule

Russian journalist and photographer David Frenkel was injured in an attack at a St. Petersburg polling station during Russia’s vote on controversial constitutional reforms, the Mediazona news website where he works reported Tuesday. Video footage showed Frenkel screaming in pain as two police officers knocked him to the ground in a crowded hallway after a brief altercation. Mediazona said the officers attempted to kick out Frenkel, who had arrived after an election monitor complained that they were being forced out as well. The Moscow Times, 30 June 2020

Investigation Launched Into Allegations Russian Police Broke Journalist’s Arm At Polling Station

Russian investigators have launched a preliminary probe into allegations that two police officers broke a journalist’s arm at a polling station in St. Petersburg during a vote to change the constitution. David Frenkel, a reporter and photographer for the independent outlet Mediazona, underwent surgery due to his injury on June 30, Mediazona said. Video of the incident posted on social media shows two police officers tackling Frenkel to the ground. A cracking noise can be heard, followed by Frenkel screaming out in pain. RFE/RL, 1 July 2020

‘After I Fell, He Hit Me…And It Snaps’: Journalist Tells How Russian Police Broke His Collarbone As He Covered Vote On Constitution

Journalist David Frenkel was surfing social media on June 30, looking for reports of suspicious activity surrounding the ongoing voting in a national plebiscite on Kremlin-backed constitutional amendments that, among other things, would enable President Vladimir Putin to seek two more terms and possibly remain in the Kremlin until 2036. “I saw a report about the voting station at Fontanka 22,” he told RFE/RL, referring to an address in the center of St. Petersburg. “They were purportedly trying to remove a member of the polling-station commission, which according to the law can only be done with a court order. Since this was a serious violation, I naturally went there to find out what was happening.” About half an hour later, Frenkel, who reports for the independent MediaZona website, was lying on the polling-station floor, writhing in agony. Video posted on social media showed how a police officer attempted forcibly to remove him, audibly breaking a bone in the process. RFE/RL, 3 July 2020

Russian journalists attacked, harassed while covering vote for Putin to remain in power

Vilnius, Lithuania, July 1, 2020 – Russian authorities should ensure that journalists are able to cover the country’s ongoing vote freely, and should refrain from harassing and detaining members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Since June 21, authorities have attacked, arrested, or harassed at least five journalists in the lead-up to today’s plebiscite on amendments to the country’s constitution, according to news reports. If the referendum passes, President Vladimir Putin would be able to stay in power through 2036; early voting on the measure began on June 25, according to the website of the country’s parliament. CPJ, 1 July 2020

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