Russia: authorities attempt union shutdown
The National Union of Journalists has condemned legal action brought by authorities in Russia to force the closure of the Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union.
The NUJ joins the International and European Federations of Journalists in urging an end to the crackdown on media outlets and journalists in Russia.
Last month, following a lawsuit filed by Moscow’s prosecutor to dissolve the Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU), the union was ordered to provide large amounts of data spanning meeting minutes, accounts, and information related to publications. The deadline imposed of one working day was flagged with Moscow’s deputy prosecutor Sergei Savenkov, accompanied by a request for “reasonable time” to provide requested files.
JMWU co-chair Sofia Rusova and union representatives were questioned by prosecutors about the union’s activities, and on 5 July, JMWU received correspondence confirming a ruling in favour of dissolving the union. Court documents also stated fines of over €10,000 for the union and its leaders would be imposed for an article containing “false information” that intended to discredit the use of Russian armed forces to protect citizens.
A hearing on the liquidation will take place on July 13 despite the JMWU being denied access to court files.
Dominique Pradalié , IFJ president said:
“This unfair and arbitrary process, leading to decisions being taken without giving the union the effective right to submit documents and challenge any so-called evidence, is a sham.
“It is just one more dangerous step in the closing down of any voices that do not just repeat the government’s statements. We will continue to provide practical support to all those Russian journalists working to keep the truth alive from those who would seek to silence independent voices”.