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Ukraine media workers call to expel the Russian Union of Journalists from the International Federation of Journalists

19.05.2022, 15:33

The Association of Ukrainian Media, Journalists and Public Organizations "Media Movement" appealed to the International Federation of Journalists to expel the Russian Union of Journalists from its ranks, Detector Media reports.

Here is the full text of the address:

We appeal to the International Federation of Journalists with regards to the unjustified nature of the membership of such an organization as "Russian Union of Journalists" in its ranks. This issue has already been raised at the IFJ in early March by a number of representatives from northern European countries. After the Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008, and against Ukraine in 2014, it became clear, and from 2022, abundantly clear that Russia is not just a totalitarian state, but also systematically violates international law and the sovereignty of neighboring countries. At the same time, such a policy of the Russian Federation was not met with adequate resistance from representatives of the country's civil society, including journalists.

Since 2000, Russia has de-facto been ruled only by Putin; he is the personification of modern Russian government, which has remained unchanged for decades, and whose opponents are being sent to the next world in the most brutal way. The "Russian Union of Journalists" is financed from the state budget of the Russian Federation annually with a sum of almost 100 million rubles (see, for example, Annex 24), i.e., this structure is dependent on the Russian dictatorial regime. While, according to the IFJ Constitution of 2019–2022 (subparagraph “g,” paragraph 3), one of its goals is to maintain the societal function of journalism as a pillar of democracy and freedom, in the case of the "Union of Journalists," this alleged journalistic union is being funded by a totalitarian regime.

At a time when Russia ranks around 150th in the freedom of speech rating, we do not see an adequate response to this state of affairs from the Russian Union of Journalists, including a proper response to censorship and harassment of the remnants of genuine journalism by the Russian authorities.

After all, such a large-scale and long-lasting aggression cannot take place without some support from Russian society. One may question the extent to which opinion polls reflect the level of Russian society's support for aggression against Ukraine, but both on social media and in the Russian media, we are seeing an influx of chauvinism permeating the Russian society. In the Russian society, it is considered normal to view Ukraine as a non-state, and Ukrainian culture and identity as second-rate or non-existent / artificially created (and this is typical not only for the government, but also for opposition figures). The Third Reich situation is clearly being repeated, with totalitarian power at the top and a society thirsting for a geopolitical revanche at the bottom.

Journalism should present different points of view, but it should not rebroadcast government propaganda and hate speech (as reflected in subparagraph "n" of paragraph 3 of the IFJ Constitution). We believe that the Russian Union of Journalists has failed this task, as it has not responded properly to the rise of Russian chauvinism and the government's indulgence in such processes.

In view of the above, we believe that the "Russian Union of Journalists" should be expelled from the International Federation of Journalists on the basis of subparagraph "b" of paragraph 15 of the IFJ Constitution. We call on the domestic authorized representatives of the IFJ (Serhiy Tomilenko of NUJU and Serhiy Shturkhetsky of IMUU) to include an according item in the agenda of the IFJ Congress, which will take place from 31.05 to 03.06 in Oman!

Media Movement is a community that brings together journalists from leading Ukrainian media, investigative journalists, and experts from media NGOs.

Media Movement "Media for a Conscious Choice" was launched on February 5, 2019. The first signatories of the Media Movement Memorandum were UA: Pershyy, Ukrainian Radio, Hromadske Radio, Ukrinform news agency, Interfax-Ukraine news agency,, "Dzerkalo Tyzhnya. Ukraina," NV, "Censor.Net," Channel 5, Ukrainsky Tyzhden, Opinion, a number of regional media, the Independent Media Council, NGOs such as Detector Media, Institute of Mass Information, "Internews-Ukraine," Center for Democracy and Rule of Law, "Suspilnist" Foundation, the National Media Association, Donetsk Institute of Information, Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy, "Zmina" Human Rights Center, later joined by "Bukvy," other organizations, and individual journalists – more than 70 signatories total.

On November 16, 2021, representatives of the leading media called on journalists to unite in a professional community to resist political and commercial pressure on freedom of speech. The statement was initiated by 29 journalists and experts, whose names are available here.

The unification process of the two initiatives is underway. The full list of members of the renewed organization will be made public immediately after the formalization of the Media Movement. Now the movement's founders are developing the rules of the organization, its structure, and internal regulations.

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