“Piercing Putin’s Truth Blockade:” Former ICFJ Award Winner, President Shine a Light on Russian Reporters in Exile

In a new piece for Nieman Reports, award-winning media founder Roman Anin and ICFJ President Sharon Moshavi call for global support of Russian journalists who, despite the challenges, are providing independent news about Russia’s war in Ukraine to fellow citizens living under “increasingly authoritarian darkness” in their country.

The war has no shortage of heroes, they write, from the Ukrainian recruits fighting to journalists in Ukraine covering it: “These correspondents deserve our gratitude and support, but there is another cadre of reporters embarking on a different sort of mission and facing different dangers: Russia’s independent media. These journalists desperately need our support, too.”

Russian journalists in exile “are working hard to ensure that Russian youth aren’t poisoned like their parents by Kremlin propaganda,” Anin and Moshavi write. And there are encouraging signs: IStories, the investigative news outlet that Anin founded, has more newsletter subscribers from inside Russia than ever before, and its followers have grown 50 percent on Telegram (a widely used messaging app that offers enhanced security features). Meduza, an independent outlet with millions of subscribers, has nearly tripled its Telegram followers since the invasion. 

Anin and Moshavi call for additional funding and visas for independent Russian journalists in exile. Technological support is important, too. ICFJ is partnering with censorship circumvention platform Psiphon, for example, to bring important reporting from independent news outlets to Russians who use it to access the internet.

All this support matters, because a lot is at stake.

“You can bet that leaders from Beijing to Brasilia to Budapest, and elsewhere, are watching this battle closely,” they write. “Everyone else, too, needs to be watching — and helping as if the future depends on it.”

Read the Nieman Reports article. See what ICFJ is doing to support Ukrainian and Russian journalists.

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