Journalists, Either You Make it Look Great or You Die

A country strives to look great, sound great, be great in front of the world but how does news of such “greatness” travel? Journalists are the key of course but let’s face it, a journalist’s job is to report facts and these facts are not always “great”. Actually, correction, journalist should be free to write about great crime rates, great political crisis, even the negative can be “great”. Censorship was done by many countries long ago and even today it proves to not work. Hiding the facts, doesn’t keep that “great” reputation up. Yet hiding or censoring is too much of shy word for murdering. Unfortunately nowadays, journalists can barely write news with opinions of the majority (unless “positive” )and if they don’t well… there’s a price and that price is death.

On April 19,2017, Nikolai Andruschenko, a Russian investigative journalist and co-founder of the Novy Peterburg, passed away at the age of 73 after suffering a major blunt trauma that lead to a coma. His death was no accident. The journalist was attacked on his way to work on March 9, 2017. The assault was traced to a series of newspaper articles about anti-corruption protests and city officials’ mafia connections.

Editor of the Novy Peterburg, Denis Usov stated that Andruschenko had received previous threats. ” [They] demanded some documents…And then on March 9, he was found near his home with a broken head.”

Additionally, the Committe to Protect Journalist reported that Andruschenko had been repeatedly harassed by local Russian authorities. He was imprisoned in 2007 with charges of defamation and obstruction of justice due to his investigative coverage of a murder investigation and trial in 2006. However it was his colleagues believed that it was an excuse for his arrest. The real reason being his coverage of the local authorities and pro-opposition articles in the run up to the country parlimentary elections of December 2nd.  The newpaper’s newsroom was raided while accusing Andurschenko of suspicious defamation of officials in two articles unconnected to the charges that he was originally charged with.

Until June 2009, he was found guilty of insulting Dmitry Mazurov, an employee of St.Petersburg prosecutor’s office as a representative of the Russian government. He was sentenced to a 20,000 rub fine. He wrote a letter to a list of human rights organizations and world leaders to publicly reject his Russian citizenship and accused Moscow of political repression and encroachment of freedom of speech. His statements proved detrimental.

Novy Petersburg‘s director, Alevtina Ageeva announced through Open Russia,” The police are unlikely to put much effort in the investigation, since Andruschenko wrote a lot about the arbitrariness in the police, and he was not liked for his intransigence”.

The attackers remain unknown. Mr. Andurschenko is one of the many examples of journalists being murdered or attacked for stating his opinion about his country. Tons of journalists have been beaten, threatened, jailed, simply because they wrote their news through their perspective and not through that “great” perspective of their country. I find it quite ironic how some countries wish to look “great” but are fine with quieting a journalist. How can a journalist report something that will get them killed? Is it better for a journalist to write lies throughout his or her career in fear of their deaths? This is hurting careers in journalism and disrespecting what everyone should be entitled to, the freedom of speech.



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