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Witness

Russia's online wavemakers

Two brave bloggers risk life and limb to challenge Russia's press restrictions and get their stories told.

Last Modified: 11 Mar 2013 10:27
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Filmmakers: Richard Setbon and Evgeny Rudnii

Sergei Mukhamedov is a young Moscow blogger with his hand on the pulse of Russia’s capital city. He rails against the restrictions on freedom of expression introduced by Vladimir Putin.

"Moscow is a very tough town. So many people live here. Where do they live an work? How do they survive? Moscow is like an ant hill, so hard to grasp. But for a blogger, Moscow is a gold mine. There is so much going on. It's like nowhere else in Russia."

- Sergei Mukhamedov, a blogger

Working alone he scans the Twittersphere for story tips. He dashes to where the action is, making sure he is first on the scene to break a story and gets it out immediately onto the internet.

His reports expose corruption and deal with the issues faced by ordinary citizens. When he sees a tweet about unusual activities at a national bank, he dashes there only to find it being closing down taking with it their poor clients’ savings.

His quick response not only exposes corruption at the bank but his story posts even helps the bank’s clients in faraway Siberia get their money out before their branch is closed there too.

Irina Gundareva is an investigative journalist at a newspaper in Chelyabinsk, Siberia. She will not accept her stories being censored - and when she feels she cannot do a story fully in her own paper, she takes to the blogosphere.

"My whole career I’ve tried to be free. I would always change jobs when I encountered censorship”,she says.

Determined to expose corruption and injustice, she has braved harassment and threats from officials and businessmen in order to report truthfully on her blog. She takes us to the city’s outskirts and the garbage dump where, at great personal risk, she reports on the criminals with connections to the local government who are using migrant slave labourers to recycle garbage for profit.

These two stories weave together to show us the energy, commitment and passion of Russia’s new online wavemakers, determined to get their stories told.

In Pictures: Blogging in Moscow



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Source:
Al Jazeera
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