Meduza (Russian: Медуза, named after the Greek goddess Medusa[3]) is a Russian- and English-language independent[9] news website, headquartered in Riga, Latvia. It was founded in 2014 by a group of former employees of the then-independent news website.[10][11][12] Free mobile applications for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android became the basis of the media.[13] A semi-official motto of the portal is "Make the Kremlin sad".[14]

TypeNews website
Owner(s)Galina Timchenko[1]
Founder(s)Galina Timchenko, Ivan Kolpakov, Ilya Krasilshchik
PublisherGalina Timchenko (since 2019)
Editor-in-chiefIvan Kolpakov[2]
Managing editorKevin Rothrock
General managerGalina Timchenko
News editorEilish Hart
Founded2014; 9 years ago (2014)
HeadquartersRiga, Latvia

History Edit

In 2014, Galina Timchenko was fired from her job as chief editor at by oligarch Alexander Mamut, a supporter of Vladimir Putin, after she had interviewed Right Sector. She launched the new webpage Meduza in October 2014.[11][12] Several former journalists of joined the new online site.[12]

Timchenko told Forbes that the decision to base Meduza in Latvia was made since "right now, establishing an independent Russian language publishing house in Latvia is possible, while in Russia it is not".[15] Moreover, Timchenko stated: "We understood that in Russia, most likely, they would not let us work."[16]

Russian businessman and former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and telecommunications magnate Boris Zimin had been considered as passive investors, but they parted ways "for strategic and operational reasons".[15] Timchenko said Khodorkovsky had wanted 100 percent control of Meduza, which she considered unacceptable.[17] For financial reasons, Timchenko and her partner at Amond & Smith Ltd, Sergey Nazarkin, based Meduza in Latvia.[18]

In February 2015, the website also launched an English-language version. In January 2016, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Galina Timchenko handed over the role of chief editor to her deputy Ivan Kolpakov.[19]

In August 2017, Meduza started a partnership with the American news website BuzzFeed News.[20] The partnership included publishing each other’s materials, sharing experiences, and carrying out and publishing joint investigations.[21]

On October 20, 2018, at the outlet's annual celebration, Meduza chief editor and co-founder Ivan Kolpakov reportedly groped an employee's wife, saying, "You're the only one at this party I can harass and get away with it."[22][23] Kolpakov was temporarily suspended until Meduza publicly censured and reinstated him. The incident triggered a social media backlash.[24] On November 9 Kolpakov announced his resignation saying that "it is the only way to stop the crisis engulfing the website and minimize the damage to its reputation".[25] He was reinstated as chief editor on March 11, 2019.[2]

In 2019, Meduza started the English podcast The Naked Pravda, which highlights how Meduza's top reporting intersects with the wider research and expertise that exists about Russia.[26]

In May 2022, Helsingin Sanomat started publishing individual Meduza articles translated in Finnish.[27]

In February 2023, the iPhone of Galina Timchenko was targeted with Pegasus spyware. The attack occurred a day before a conference of exiled independent Russian media that was held in Berlin and which Timchenko attended; her phone could have been used to evesdrop on the journalists' conversations during the conference. This attack is the first confirmed instance of Pegasus being used against a Russian journalist. It is unclear which state carried out the attack.[28]

Structure Edit

By 2014 Meduza had a team of around 20 journalists.[12] No Latvian journalists contribute to the project.

Since March 2015, Meduza has published a daily news called "Evening Meduza".[16]

In September 2022, it announced the creation of English email dispatch "The Beet", aiming to amplify "local perspectives" from Central/Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, "without centering Moscow".[29]

Audience Edit

Three months after opening, Meduza had 1.3 million monthly readers of its Internet publication.[30] In 2017, Meduza had 7.5 million readers per month and 2 million followers on social media.[31] In 2020, Meduza was the leading Russian site in social media links, according to Medialogia [ru], a company that monitors and analyzes exclusivity Russian sites on media and social networks.[32] By March 2022, Meduza's website had between 12 and 18 million monthly visitors.[17] The majority of readers are younger than 45.[33]

Meduza grants open source access to all their coverage of the war in Ukraine under a Creative Commons license. The articles can be reprinted in full (CC BY 4.0, does not apply to photos).[34]

Censorship Edit

Meduza aims to fill a market niche that exists due to "a long list of forbidden topics which Russian media do not raise for various reasons—due to direct and indirect censorship".[15]

The day after it was launched, Meduza was blocked in Kazakhstan, probably due to an article about the city of Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk).[35][36]

Access to the site has also been blocked in Uzbekistan.[36]

Meduza has installed technical measures to circumvent censorship with their mobile apps.[clarification needed][37]

In June 2019, Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested by Russian police for claimed drug offences.[38] Colleagues and friends of Golunov said they believed the charges to be fabricated, motivated by his investigations into corruption.[39] Following a public outcry, Golunov was released, and five police officers were fired and later arrested.[40]

On 23 April 2021, the Russian Ministry of Justice designated Meduza as a "foreign agent".[41][42] In response, the European Union rejected the decision, saying this restriction "goes against Russia's international obligations and human rights commitments".[43][44][45][46] Russia's actions caused financial difficulties for Meduza, as they stopped many advertisers from Russia, which were the portal's main source of income, from displaying their ads at Meduza's pages. This resulted in an international campaign to collect funds to ensure Meduza's survival through donations and buying subscriptions.[47][48][49] Timchenko said the designation made it even harder to obtain sources that are willing to talk to the reporters – specifically without the protection of anonymity.[33]

Meduza published an editorial condemning the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022;[50] due to its coverage of the invasion, the site was blocked on the territory of Russia by Roskomnadzor among other news websites due to the "systematic dissemination of fakes".[51] Despite the actions of Roskomnadzor, Meduza managed to maintain most of its Russian readers, but the economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine also hit Meduza's finances, as the sanctions made it nearly impossible to send donations from Russia and 30,000 members across the Russian border were suddenly unable to donate to the website. As a result, Meduza launched a campaign seeking donations from new supporters outside of Russia.[17][52] On March 11, Reporters Without Borders announced a mirror site[53] has been set up.[54] Russian journalist Ilya Krasilshchik, the former publisher of Meduza, was charged under the "fake news" law for denouncing the war in Ukraine.[55]

On 26 January 2023, the Russian prosecutor-general’s office declared Meduza as an undesirable organization in Russia.[56] In March 2023, Timchenko said that while "Russian propaganda has enormous financial sources" and the government can spend billions to spread disinformation, Meduza has a "little crowdfunding campaign by people of good will around the world, and some support from international organizations".[33]

Awards Edit

  • 2016 - Ilnur Sharafiev received the Redkollegia award for the article 18 thousand rubles per person published in Meduza.[57][58]
  • 2022 - Galina Timchenko received the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CJP) Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award as Meduza's CEO and publisher for "extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom".[33][59]
  • 2022 - The Fritt Ord Prize for courageous, independent and fact-based journalism[60]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ [1] Archived 24 September 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Ivan Kolpakov has been named Meduza’s chief editor Archived 1 July 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ ""Медуза" ответила на вопросы читателей". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  4. ^ Urman, Aleksandra (13 October 2019). "News Consumption of Russian Vkontakte Users: Polarization and News Avoidance". International Journal of Communication. 13: 25. ISSN 1932-8036.
  5. ^ Lavrinenko, Olga (2021). Bessant, Judith; Mejia Mesinas, Analicia; Pickard, Sarah (eds.). When Students Protest. Universities in the global North. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-78661-181-9. OCLC 1260343703.
  6. ^ "Russia restricts access to DW's website". Deutsche Welle. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Russia says 'limiting' sites of BBC, Deutsche Welle, Meduza". Radio France Internationale. Moscow. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  8. ^ "European Media Offer Support to Ukrainian, Russian Colleagues". Voice of America. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  9. ^ [4][5][6][7][8]
  10. ^ Vasilyeva, Nataliya (7 June 2019). "Prominent investigative journalist detained in Russia". Associated Press. Moscow. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  11. ^ a b "I was 'fired' because of the Kremlin". BBC News. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Beard, Nadia (23 October 2014). "Russian journalists set up shop in Latvia after Kremlin crackdown". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  13. ^ Taratuta, Julia (10 October 2014). "Галина Тимченко, главред Meduza: унизительно, когда вся политическая журналистика затаив дыхание следит за движением бровей президента" [Galina Timchenko, editor-in-chief of Meduza: it's humiliating when all political journalism is holding its breath following the movement of the president's eyebrows]. Dozhd. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  14. ^ Dwornik, Bartłomiej (14 November 2022). "Historia portalu MEDUZA. Rosyjski, niezależny, medialny okręt piracki". (in Polish). Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  15. ^ a b c "Галина Тимченко: "Никто из нас не мечтает делать «Колокол"". 15 September 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Meduza Тимченко зазвонит из Латвии". (in Russian). 29 September 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  17. ^ a b c Hakala, Pekka (29 March 2022). "Uutissivusto Meduza onnistui säilyttämään venäläiset lukijansa Venäjän estämisistä huolimatta, mutta nyt rahat ovat loppumassa pakotteiden vuoksi". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish).
  18. ^ Подрез, Тарас (27 August 2014). "Экс-главред Галина Тимченко учредила Medusa Project". Известия (in Russian). Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  19. ^ Meduza chief editor steps down, remains as CEO Archived 1 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Meduza, January 28, 2016.
  20. ^ Wang, Shan (29 August 2017). "Stories about Russia "are so hot right now" — so BuzzFeed is partnering with Meduza for more substantive Russia reporting". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Galina Timchenko". Politico Europe. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  22. ^ Gershkovich, Evan (9 November 2018). "Editor's Resignation Signals Milestone #MeToo Moment in Russia". The Moscow Times.
  23. ^ Brown, Hayes (9 November 2018). "This #MeToo Moment Is Tearing The Russian Internet Apart". BuzzFeed News.
  24. ^ Stewart, Rick (9 November 2018). "Russia's most progressive media outlet finds itself on the wrong side of #MeToo". Global Voices. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  25. ^ "Meduza Editor In Chief Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Accusations". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  26. ^ "'The Naked Pravda' premiere trailer: Meduza's new English-language podcast".
  27. ^ Mukka, Antero (3 May 2022). "Jokainen teko sananvapauden puolesta syö pohjaa sortovallalta". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish).
  28. ^ "The million-dollar reporter How attackers hijacked the phone of Meduza co-founder Galina Timchenko, making her the first Russian journalist to be infected with Pegasus spyware". Meduza. Retrieved 14 September 2023.
  29. ^ "The Beet: A new email dispatch from Meduza".
  30. ^ "Российская аудитория сайта достигла 1,3 млн человек в месяц". РБК (in Russian). 28 January 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  31. ^ "Meduza: Doing New Media in a Perfect Storm". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  32. ^ "Федеральные СМИ - 2020 год" [Federal media - 2020]. (in Russian). 28 January 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  33. ^ a b c d Smale, Alison (7 March 2023). "A Russian Editor Evades Putin's Censorship". The New York Times.
  34. ^ "Meduza is granting open access to all coverage of the war in Ukraine under a Creative Commons license".
  35. ^ Лихачёв, Никита (21 October 2014). "Издание Meduza заблокировали в Казахстане после репортажа из Усть-Каменогорска". Archived from the original on 7 March 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  36. ^ a b Bolotskaya, Rita; Bogoyavlenskaya, Evgenia (29 October 2016). "Галина Тимченко, гендиректор и учредитель проекта Meduza (Рига)". Ukrinform (in Russian).
  37. ^ Galimov, Samat (15 April 2016). "Кошки-мышки в Казахстане". Meduza : dev.
  38. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (7 June 2019). "Russian Reporter Who Exposed Moscow Graft Is Arrested on Drug Charges". The New York Times.
  39. ^ Roth, Andrew (7 June 2019). "Russian police accused of arresting journalist on false charges". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  40. ^ "Former officers who searched 'Meduza' journalist Ivan Golunov arrested, may face drug possession and evidence falsification charges". Meduza. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  41. ^ "Russia Labels Meduza Media Outlet As 'Foreign Agent'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 23 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  42. ^ "Минюст внес "Медузу" в список "иностранных агентов"" [Ministry of Justice added Meduza to the list of "foreign agents"]. Ministry of Justice (Russia) (in Russian). Meduza. 23 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  43. ^ Yun Chee, Foo (24 April 2021). "EU rejects Russian decision to label media outlet Meduza as 'foreign agent'". Reuters. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  44. ^ "EU 'Rejects' Russian Labeling Of Meduza Media Outlet As 'Foreign Agent'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 21 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  45. ^ ""Обязанность властей — обеспечить журналистам возможность заниматься своей работой в атмосфере, свободной от страха и принуждения"" [The duty of the authorities is to ensure that journalists are able to do their work in an atmosphere free from fear and coercion.]. Meduza (in Russian). 24 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  46. ^ "Russia: Statement by the Spokesperson on labelling Meduza as "foreign agent"". European External Action Service. 24 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  47. ^ "'Is this the end of Meduza?' Hobbled by sanctions, Russian journalists seek Western donors". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  48. ^ Baer, Stephanie K. (14 March 2022). "This Russian Newsroom Has Been Cut Off From Its Readers Amid Putin's War. Now It's Asking The World To Help It Report The Truth". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  49. ^ Bieliaszyn, Wiktoria (14 March 2022). "Pomóż Meduzie. Rosji potrzebna jest choć jedna niezależna redakcja". (in Polish). Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  50. ^ "No to War An editorial from Meduza". Meduza. 24 February 2022.
  51. ^ "Сайты "Голоса Америки", BBC, DW, Meduza и "Радио Свободы" заблокировали". РИА Новости. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  52. ^ Baer, Stephanie K. (14 March 2022). "This Russian Newsroom Has Been Cut Off From Its Readers Amid Putin's War. Now It's Asking The World To Help It Report The Truth". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  53. ^ "Новости". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  54. ^ "RSF creates "mirror" of leading Russian exile news site blocked by Kremlin". Reporters Without Borders. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  55. ^ "Here's who Russia has punished for speaking out against the war in Ukraine". The Hill. 11 May 2022.
  56. ^ Heintz, Jim (26 January 2023). "Russia declares critical news outlet Meduza 'undesirable'". Associated Press. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  57. ^ "18 тысяч рублей за человека". Redkollegia (in Russian). 30 November 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  58. ^ "Журналист Ильнур Шарафиев получил премию «Редколлегия» за статью в «Медузе»". Meduza (in Russian). 14 December 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  59. ^ "Galina Timchenko - Committee to Protect Journalists". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  60. ^ "The Fritt Ord Prize 2022". Fritt Ord. Retrieved 27 September 2023.

External links Edit