Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Galina Timchenko, Russia

International Press Freedom Awards

CPJ is honored to present its 2022 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award, for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom, to Russian editor Galina Timchenko.

Galina Timchenko is the CEO and publisher of Meduza, a popular Russian news website she founded in 2014 together with other exiled Russian journalists. 

Galina is no stranger to earning to Russian authorities’ ire. In March 2014, she was suddenly fired as editor-in-chief of Lenta.ru, a widely read independent news website in Russia, and replaced with an openly nationalistic Kremlin supporter. There was no explanation offered for her firing, but shortly before, Lenta.ru had been admonished for publishing an interview that contained a link to a statement made by a Ukrainian politician whom Russia had deemed a criminal. 

In the aftermath of her firing, 39 Lenta.ru staff members left the outlet in protest. Timchenko and many of her former colleagues fled to Riga, Latvia, and founded Meduza to continue their vital reporting on Russia from the relative safety of exile. 

In April 2021, Russian authorities labeled Meduza as a so-called “foreign agent,” leading it to lose 38 percent of its revenue due to sponsor flight. 

In March 2022, Timchenko spoke with CPJ about calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “war,” working in exile, and the legal, financial, and logistical roadblocks to covering the invasion. 

“We’re just doing our job without any fear to be blocked, because – okay, they [Russia] could list us as an extremist organization, or terrorists. Or they could charge us with state treason,” she said. “I’m sorry to use these words, but we don’t give a damn.”

Honoring Timchenko with the 2022 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom offers a powerful recognition of journalism as a vital contributor towards peace.