David Frenkel, a correspondent from the independent media outlet Mediazona was attacked by police, breaking his arm, when reporting on Russia’s constitutional plebiscite at a polling station in St. Petersburg Tuesday 30 June.
According to the Russian media outlet Meduza, Frenkel was at the polling station to confirm the fact that the precinct had tried to expel a voting member of the electoral commission. When the site commissioner asked the police to remove Frenkel for supposedly “impeding” the commission’s work, two officers shoved him to the ground and pinned him against a doorway, breaking his arm.
Russian authorities should support free independent journalism, not attack it
The incident is captured on video footage, and Frenkel was later hospitalized and treated in a four-hours operation to repaire his arm.
“This incident needs to be thoroughly investigated as hindering the work of a journalist and abuse of authority by the police. Russian authorities should not accept police brutality as we have seen too many incidents of lately”, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC).
Instead of sanction the policemen, the state officials have been spreading fake alternative stories of what happened at the polling station. The NHC urges the Russian authorities to guarantee security and safety for the journalists, so that they can do their work, as in the case of Frenkel, who was reporting on Russian electoral procedures.
“Russian authorities should support free independent journalism, not attack it” says Engesland.
The NHC has nominated Mediazona to Fritt Ords Free Media Awards 2020 for their brave work in conducting independent reporting in Russia.