Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics

CPJ report looks at restrictions on news coverage in run-up to Winter Games

New York, January 28, 2014–Obstruction by Russian authorities and journalists’ self-censorship in a repressive climate have restricted news coverage of sensitive issues related to the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in a report released today.

The report, entitled “Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics,” examines how both local and international journalists have been harassed and prevented from reporting on topics such as the exploitation of migrant workers, environmental destruction, forced evictions, and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. The report also explores how Russian state-controlled media have ignored these issues or even published propaganda smearing the victims of human rights abuses and the activists who defend them.

“Russian authorities have cracked down on journalists, rights defenders, and civil activists in a way not seen since the break-up of the Soviet Union,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “The International Olympic Committee as the Games’ organizers must engage with Russian authorities to ensure that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are unobstructed in Sochi both during and after the Games.”

In the report’s recommendations CPJ calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure that host countries that fail to reach international standards for press freedom and freedom of expression suffer repercussions; on the Russian government to repeal laws that chill freedom of the press; on corporate sponsors of the Games to insist that the IOC speak out on media freedom violations; and on journalists covering the Games to report violations of press freedom.

In addition to the report, CPJ has also published a Russian translation of CPJ’s Journalist Security Guide, as well as a blog on the digital surveillance of journalists covering the Sochi Olympics.

Note to editors:

To monitor potential restrictions on press freedom at the games, CPJ suggests using the hashtag #CoveringSochi on social media.

The report is available in English and Russian


CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide

Media contacts:

Magnus Ag

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Samantha Libby

Communications Associate

Tel: +1.212.300.9032

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