I read in the “Rain” newsletter: “This week, we felt like being a part of something bigger again. The case of Ivan Golunov showed us that together we can really change something. ”

I read on the website of the small newspaper “Zori Plus” in the town of Dobryanka in the Perm region: “Only together, we can resist by supporting each other, instead of keeping a blind eye on injustice and arbitrariness”

The campaign to release “Medusa” journalist and the march on June 12 overshadowed all other events of the week in media coverage. This time, the case of the journalist Golunov was discussed not only on Facebook, but also among the readers of “Metro” newspaper in the Moscow subway. Journalists all over Russia went on single demonstrations, and the three big federal media outlets came out with the same front page: “I/WE Golunov”. This slogan was also picked up by regional editions a truly unprecedented unity for Russian journalism!

The magic of Golunov’s case even has inertia: on June 17, the court dismissed from the courtroom the editor of the Kaliningrad newspaper “New Wheels”, Igor Rudnikov, accused of extortion (the prosecution requested 10 years in jail for him).

On the background of Golunov, other cases were remembered and it turned out there have been many “invisible” ones in Russia, which have not been supported by the “big three”. On the same day, for example, Circassian activist Martin Kochesoko was detained in Nalchik. In Makhachkala, the editor of “Chernovik” newpaper Abdulmumin Hajiyev was also detained on the suspicion of financing terrorism. These cases are mainly covered by Caucasian resources. “Why doesn’t ‘Meduza’ write about this? And what about all the rest?” users of social media pounded all week. Finally, “Meduza”, has published one text about both cases. And this is also a victory in a certain sense. All the attention of large media to the persecution in the regions is a victory.

The demand of the Russian society for “media visibility” is huge, including for journalists and other participants in the media market. Even the community of political technologists and political consultants, believing due to this “Golunov wave” in a better world, ask to pay attention to the dubious criminal cases against “representatives of socially significant professions”, listing their own: Petr Miloserdov, Nikolay Sandakov, Andrei Kabanov…

But we know: magic rarely happens here. Let us have a look on the solidarity actions of the Russian journalists. We will see only one regional example the example of the editors of “TV-2”; The rest all federal journalists, promoted by their own publications with a large audience. The conclusion is obvious and sad: federal journalists cannot be touched, regional ones can be. 

For many years, the Glasnost Defence Foundation has been conducting a digest of harassment of journalists and court cases in which the editorial staff of the media is involved and about which only a small audience is aware of. “In a way whatever happens to Ivan Golunov, is the same exact thing that silently happens to the whole country,” writes a human rights activist Dima Makarov. Yes, indeed. And we, journalists, create this silence ourselves. We do not defend our own people unless the “Big Three” and other respected people from the long list of those who spoke for Golunov request it: Dud, Kandelaki, Parfenov, Pozner, Sobchak, Shulman. 

Real magic will happen when the consolidation of the journalistic community enters, as they say, the working mode that is, when the request for solidarity comes from below, not from above.

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Yuliia Schastlivtseva

Yuliia Schastlivtseva is a journalist and lawyer. She graduated from the Magnitogorsk State University majoring in philology; graduated with a master’s degree in law from the Higher School of Economics (Moscow). She is alumnus of the Moscow School of Political Studies (MSPS). Yuliia is the Director of the Leonid Nikitinsky’s Centre for legal and media initiatives and Project director in Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers (ANRI). As a journalist, she works with human rights and judiciary issues.