Solidarity with Russian Journalists to Remember Fallen Colleagues

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have sent a message of solidarity and support to their affiliate, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), as it prepares for its annual solidarity event to remember fallen colleagues.

Tomorrow, Sunday, 8 September, RUJ leaders and members, as well as many journalists and writers, will unite for the International Journalists’ Solidarity Day in Moscow, a powerful day of demonstrations and events to commemorate colleagues who have been killed, stand up for freedom of expression and strengthen solidarity in their struggle to combat impunity against journalists in Russia.

“It is with great sorrow and humility that we join our Russian colleagues to pay tribute to our fellow journalists who have lost their lives in their line of duty,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “Journalists from Russia continue to pay the heaviest price for their courage and professionalism in the field and their commitment to exposing the truth regardless of the risks to their safety.

“The IFJ and EFJ stand united, shoulder to shoulder, with the Russian Union of Journalists in its efforts to bring justice to our brothers and sisters and to support their families.”

To mark this vitally important day, now in its fourth year, the RUJ will give the special Politkovskaya award to Italian photojournalist Andrea (Andy) Rocchelli and Russian interpreter Andrey Mironov.

They were killed in Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine, last May while covering fighting between government forces and pro-Russian insurgents. The award, given to journalists who have excelled in the field of press freedom and human rights, is named after Russian journalist, writer and human rights activist Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya.

Anna, known for her opposition to the Chechen conflict, was shot and killed in the lift of her block of flats in 2006, an unsolved murder that continues to attract international attention.

The family of Andrea Rocchelli, who was the co-founder of the Cesura photo agency and contributed to leading media publications including Newsweek and Le Monde, will be in attendance.

The IFJ and the EFJ have also paid their respects to Andrei Stenin, who worked for Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti, and was found dead near Donetsk earlier this week. The Federation sends its heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues at this very difficult time.

“We join the IFJ to offer our strongest support to our colleagues at the RUJ on this moving day of commemoration,” said EFJ President Mogens Blicher-Bjerregård. “Those that have threatened, intimidated or killed Russian journalists must be held to account and answer for theses atrocities. We call on Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice – only then will the Russian media be, open, free and safe.”

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