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  2. There are mass detentions of the journalists in Russia's regions during the rallies on January 31, their press cards and markings being ignored

There are mass detentions of the journalists in Russia's regions during the rallies on January 31, their press cards and markings being ignored

Elena Zholobova
Alexei Ukhankov and Alexei Motorenko
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7x7's correspondents from different regions report that the police are detaining them and their colleagues from other media, ignoring their press cards, badges, and vests labeled "Press", during the unagreed rallies in support of Alexei Navalny on January 31.

In Tver, journalist Darya Samarina was detained by the police as soon as she approached the place of the protest rally. The reason was that Samarina allegedly took a full-length photo of a police officer and posted it in the media, thereby illegally distributing his personal data. Neither the badge, nor the press-card, nor the task of the editorial office helped Samarina, as well as another journalist from Tver, employee of the regional Karavan Newspaper Alexander Selyuk, avoid detention. Darya Samarina is currently in the police department on Frunze Street with the rest of the detainees. According to her, they questioned her, took an explanation, took photos and videos, but did not say a word about the distribution of the police officer's personal data.

Дарья Самарина

Darya Samarina in the police department

In Yoshkar-Ola, the police stopped correspondent of 7x7 Alexei Seryogin for identity check before the start of the rally. He was brought to a special bus, where all the detainees were told that the police had received the suspect profiles of them as law violators at rallies last Saturday. Seryogin said that he was a journalist and had a task of the editorial office, but the police ignored it. His whereabouts are unknown.

Another correspondent of 7x7 in Yoshkar-Ola, Denis Dolgopolov, also spent several hours in the police department. He said that he was taken to a prison truck at 12:30. When the truck was packed, Dolgopolov was taken to the police, where he had to give his explanation, and stayed in the department until 4:15PM for no reason. Most of the detainees, according to the journalist, were released before 3PM.

In Kostromam 7x7’s journalist Alexei Ukhankov and 7x7’s photoreporter Alexei Motorenko were detained during the rally. The police said about their status as media representatives that they would get to it at the department. There, their documents were checked and they were questioned; they were released three hours after the rally started.

In Syktyvkar, journalist of the Krasnoe Znamya Newspaper Valery Chernitsyn and correspondent of the SOTA Media Outlet Vlad Petrov were detained, although the last one was wearing a yellow “Press” vest. And 7x7’s correspondent in Belgorod Tatyana Grigoryeva was detained at the rally, but then released when she showed her press-cars.

At the end of December 2020, the State Duma adopted a law that toughens the requirements for journalists' work at rallies. Media representatives are now required to wear the "clearly visible markings of a media representative" during mass actions. Prior to this, reporters covering mass events were not required to have any special markings, the law only ordered them to show their press certificate or other documents confirming their identity and journalistic credentials at the first request. The author of the bill, deputy Dmitry Vyatkin, when explaining the need for amendments, said that the new law created "additional conditions for ensuring the rights of media representatives while working at public events."


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