In June 2019, Meduza investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested by authorities in Moscow for allegedly selling drugs; charges that, after five days of mass civic action and social outcry, were dropped.
Golunov’s inquisitive eye and keen interest in corruption have made him some enemies among high-ranking law enforcement officials. Indeed, many have speculated that it was his investigation into a funeral racket connected to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) that landed him in hot water back in June.
But his investigation, entitled Bad company: How businessmen from southern Russia seized control of Moscow’s funeral industry, and who helped them do it., has also won him some friends as well as an award.
On Saturday Golunov’s work became one of eight publications to win award at the fourth annual Journalism as a Profession Awards ceremony. The event, hosted in Berlin’s fabulous St Elisabeth’s Church, attracted some of Russia’s top journalists, including Anna Nemtsova of the online publication Daily Beast.
Both Nemtsova and Ostrovsky were part of the jury that had to choose the winners from 35 pieces in seven categories, as well as a special award. This shortlist was compiled from a staggering 300 nominations made since the end of 2018.
It is vital that the world recognises the courage of independent journalists in Russia and other authoritarian regimes, who continue their work despite growing threats of physical, verbal and other forms of harassment. And the Journalism as a Profession Awards go some way in providing a platform for recognition.