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Justice For Journalists Foundation records 1,129 attacks against female media workers in post-Soviet countries in 2020

At least 1,129 female media workers in post-Soviet countries were subjected to attacks for their work last year, says a new report from the Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ). This figure includes three female journalists who lost their lives. 

Notably, in 79 percent (887) of these cases, representatives of the authorities were behind the attacks on women journalists. 

Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ)

Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine were the top three countries in the former Soviet Union for attacks on female journalists in 2020, reports JFJ. Belarus saw the largest number of attacks — 382 — making it the most dangerous. Journalist Lubov Zemtsova from the “Unknown Belarus” project even lost her life. 

“[In Belarus], 11 female journalists were shot, stunned by flash-bang grenades, or beaten up while arrested during their work to cover the protests. 107 cases of detentions (up to 24 hours) and 48 arrests (24 hours and more) were registered. In 96 percent of incidents, the perpetrators of the attacks against female journalists working in Belarus were the representatives of the authorities, such as militia, riot police, and other state security services.” 

Russia saw the second highest number attacks, 341 — 84 percent of which “constituted detentions, fines, administrative protocols, trials, and other methods of judicial and economic harassment,” JFJ underscores. In addition, two female journalists lost their lives in Russia last year: KozaPress founder Irina Slavina (who self-immolated in October 2020) and Vostochno-Sibirskaya Pravda editor-in-chief Natalia Michurina. 

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Ukraine recorded 124 attacks against female journalists in 2020. Two thirds of these incidents were non-physical and cyber-attacks, while 20 percent constituted physical attacks. 

Female journalists in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan were also targeted for the work (JFJ underscores that “valid calculations are impossible” for Turkmenistan “due to the almost complete informational isolation of this country”). 

Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ)
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