Killing of corruption journalist raises fears in Russia

Killing of corruption journalist raises fears in Russia
Image: Jon S under a CC licence

25 May 2017

Concerns of an increase in threats towards journalists in Russia are mounting after local newspaper editor Dmitriy Popkov was murdered yesterday in the town of Minusinsk in the Krasnoyarsk region.

The 42-year-old editor-in-chief of local newspaper Ton-M had previously reported on corruption in the police force. Ton-M is known for its brave reporting, a fact reflected in the newspaper’s slogan: “We write what other people stay silent about.” This approach had already scored the publication a number of run-ins with local government, along with police raids.

According to the police report, Mr Popkov was found dead in a traditional banya close to his home with several gunshot wounds on his body. Mr Popkov founded Ton-M after leaving his post as a Deputy in the Minusinsk City Council in 2012, after a court found him guilty of violence towards a child, a charge the journalist claims was politically motivated.

Such attacks form part of a trend present across Russia and the post-Soviet space. A recent report published by watchdog Freedom House suggests that media freedom is in decline in Russia, with “space for independent voices in the media continu[ing] to diminish”, in part due to a rise in violence against journalists. Most recently, reporter for Novy Peterburg Nikolai Andrushchenko died on 19 April this year after being beaten by unknown assailants.

Source: The Moscow Times