The legal aid center for independent journalists from Russia offers support in defending journalists against prosecution by the Russian state and documents instances of injustice for use in future legal cases.
Just about every independent Russian media outlet found themselves forced to leave the country after the invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing crackdown on press freedoms. The mere mention of the word “war” to describe the events in Ukraine has been banned. But going into exile by no means puts an end to repressive measures being taken against their journalism by the Russian state. An increasing number of journalists are being dubbed “foreign agents” by the government – a designation that makes them subject to repressive bureaucratic restrictions. Most critical media outlets are blocked, and some have been declared “undesirable organizations”, which has serious consequences for editorial staff and readers alike.
PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE
The Legal Aid Center has already provided services to more than 100 clients (primarily journalists) working for a total of 42 different media outlets (both in Russia and in exile), as well as bloggers (some with audiences of over a million) and foreign correspondents based in Russia. The organization coordinates the work of specialist lawyers working inside and outside of Russia. Every day, some 15 legal consultations are held, and every week, lawyers from the Hub accompany clients to around 4-5 court appointments and are continuously drafting legal documents.
The JX Fund supported the founding of the Legal Aid Center by providing advice on issues related to migration and labor law, as well as overseeing the registration process and helping to secure and furnish an office in Berlin, and by providing advice on digital security.
Project period: Established October–December 2022
Project partner: Legal Hub for Russian Journalists in Exile
The project was supported by funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).