Members of Pussy Riot Launch Independent News Service

Mediazona - Focuses on the Courts, Law Enforcement and the Prison System in Russia.
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Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina have launched MediaZona - a new independent Russian news outlet focussing on courts, law enforcement and the prison system. (website: zona.media). This project is intended to work hand-in-hand with their prisoners rights NGO “Zona Prava” (“Justice Zone”) which was launched earlier this year and is focused on protecting prisoners’ rights.

The new media outlet Mediazona will closely monitor conditions in Russian prisons, police stations and courts with one of Russia's most famous political journalists Sergey Smirnov as its editor-in-chief.

Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova hopes that this new media outlet will close the void created by the Kremlin's clampdown on independent media which has been ongoing since the beginning of 2014. "Since our release from prison 6 months ago we've felt that Russian media are no longer able to cover what is going on," says Tolokonnikova. "Because of the heavy censorship by authorities there is no space for anything in the media that criticises Putin's policies and tracks human rights abuses by Russian courts and law enforcement. Courts, prisons, arrests, convictions, riots in facilities, political criminal cases, crimes by law enforcement officials - our new media outlet will try to cover it all."

Masha Alekhina believes that the focus of Russian social and political life has heavily shifted towards courts and prisons: "There is hardly any political issues left in Russia outside of courtrooms - and there is a great need for transparency and media coverage of things that are happening down there, so we hope that Mediazona will help close that gap and change the face of independent Russian media."