On March, 25 Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ) and Index on Censorship announced a joint global initiative to monitor attacks and violations against the media during the current coronavirus-related crisis. Media freedom violations are catalogued with a map hosted in Index’s current website and on the Justice for Journalists Media Risk Map.
- RUSSIA, MOSCOW: Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin attacked Baza correspondent during Easter service. Even though majority of churches had to close following the Moscow mayor’s recommendation, at least one remained open for a group of VIP worshippers, including celebrities.
- RUSSIA, OMSK: The priests and congregation of an Omsk church attacked journalists investigating compliance with the ban on “religious mass gatherings” during the coronavirus pandemic.
- BELARUS, PINSK: Vassily Matskevich, journalist and member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, died at the age of 46 in Pinsk. The Belarus government denies the presence of coronavirus in the country, stating the cause of his death was pneumonia. This tragedy coincided with the prosecution of the news website Media-Polesye for articles about the spread of the COVID-19 in the region.
- UKRAINE, ODESSA : A private security guard attempted to obstruct the work by Anna Pokrovskaya and Vladislava Shvets from Ukrainian Information Service. He attacked Vladislava, pushed her and knocked out her camera, preventing the journalists from filming a feature about the preparation for Easter celebrations.
- AZERBAIJAN, BAKU: Natig Isbatov, a journalist of 7gun.az, and Sevinj Sadigova, a journalist of azel.tv, were detained by the police for violating the quarantine regime. They were reporting on the protest rally of people lining up to receive social assistance.
- GEORGIA, TBILISI: Commentator Gocha Barnovi was attacked during his interview for the Rustavi-2 TV channel. A man approached him, complained about Barnovi’s criticism of the Georgian Patriarch’s approach to COVID-19, and then hit him.