Statement of the ‘Free Word’ Association
On applying violence against demonstrators and journalists during protests on May 5

“Free Word” Association is outraged by the dispersal of peaceful street protests, the right to which is guaranteed by Article 31 of the Russian Constitution. In many cities across the country, unjustified violence was applied to demonstrators, including youngsters; the data on injuries and fractures keep coming.

Among the victims are our colleagues, the journalists who covered street protests in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities on May 5. More than ten media employees have been detained, some of them beaten.

In recent years, hindering correspondents’ professional work in the course of mass protests has become a regular practice in Russia, and practically none of the perpetrators has been punished. The law on liability for obstructing journalist‘s work is not being implemented.

We demand that those guilty of violence against journalists be punished, we demand that their names are made public along with the names of those who gave orders about detention, we demand that the practice of impunity be stopped.

On May 3, UNESCO celebrated World Press Freedom Day. International organizations, including professional ones, have called for respecting the work of journalists and ensuring their safety. We join in this call.