18 April 2020
Published by Igor Ya., Union of Journalists and Media Workers
20 April 2020 will see the first court hearing in the case being brought against the journalist Svetlana Prokopieva. The Union of Journalists and Media Workers is continuing to campaign in support of its colleague. The President and the Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists have expressed their support for Svetlana.
Please give your support too!
The court session will be held during a period of strict quarantine measures, which will be in effect in Pskov. The court’s website states that access to those who are not participants in the trial will be limited. The Union of Journalists and Media Workers believes that observation of this high-profile case should be open and transparent. We therefore support the demand that, for safety reasons, the court hearing should be postponed until after the end of the coronavirus epidemic.
The Union of Journalists and Media Workers has repeatedly spoken out about the absurdity of the accusation against Svetlana Prokopieva and its political motivation. Together with our colleagues from other Russian and international organizations, we continue to demand that the case against her should be terminated and that all the charges against her should be dropped.
In this difficult time, the professional community and civil society organizations are limited in their ability to display solidarity, but some such opportunities do remain. Solidarity must not be isolated.
We urge our colleagues and all those who care to support Svetlana Prokopieva. You can:
1. Share links to publications about the case being brought against our colleague, as well as articles and presentations by Svetlana such as, “Seven years in two pages of text” and “On cases against freedom of speech.”
2. Record short videos or take photos in support of Svetlana. Send them to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and publish these messages of solidarity on your social networks with the hashtags #СвободуСветлане #FreedomforSvetlana, #СвободуЖурналистам #FreedomforJournalists, #ЖурналистикаНеПреступление #JournalismisnotaCrime, and #Солидарность #Solidarity.
3. Share this petition: http://chng.it/KBDW5CkQ4h.
Update: RFE/RL’s Russian Service reported on 20 April 2020 that the court in Pskov had ordered the trial of Svetlana Prokopieva to be postponed “until the normalization of the sanitary and epidemiologic situation in the country.” Prokopieva was quoted as calling the decision “correct, because what we need is an open trial accessible to all.” Her lawyer said it was impossible to say when the trial might start. Source: RFE/RL, 20 April 2020
Background: Svetlana Prokopieva is a Russian journalist based in the north-western city of Pskov, where she works for the Pskov affiliate of Ekho Moskvy and is a freelance contributor to RFE/RL’s Russian Service. In a commentary made in November 2018, she discussed a bombing that had occurred the week before outside the offices of the Federal Security Service in Arkhangelsk, which was carried out by a 17-year-old man who died in the incident. In her commentary, Prokopieva suggested that Russia’s policy of state repression against protest could lead people to take desperate measures. In July 2019, Prokopieva’s name was added to the official list of those declared “terrorists and extremists,” and she was placed under house-arrest. In September 2019, she was formally charged with publicly justifying terrorism. If found guilty of the charge being brought against her, she could face up to seven years in prison. The case against Prokopieva has been criticized by international organisations including Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the European Federation of Journalists. Sources: European Federation of Journalists and RFE/RL.
Translated by Elizabeth Teague