Readers of a string of Russian online media will find inscrutable blank space above their daily news Friday, with several publications having temporarily eschewed using photographs in protest against the detention of photojournalist Denis Sinyakov.
"The persecution of Denis Sinyakov is a blow to freedom of speech and journalistic immunity from harassment for illuminating events," said an open letter on Lenta.ru, signed by over a hundred directors, chief editors, journalists, and photographers.
The letter, which continued to collect signatures on the Ekho Moskvy website Friday, called on investigators to release Sinyakov and dismiss all charges against him.
Dozhd, Lenta.ru, Gazeta.ru, Ekho Moskvy, Bolshoy Gorod, Snob, Novaya Gazeta, The New Times, and eight other online publications are all participating in the protest.
Sinyakov was arrested while chronicling the high-profile Greenpeace protest against Gazprom's Arctic oil exploration last week which led to the arrest of thirty people aboard the organization's Arctic Sunrise icebreaker.
He was charged with piracy and sentenced Thursday to two months detention by a Murmansk court. The court handed down the same sentence to 21 others aboard the ship and decided to keep the remaining eight in custody for 72 hours.
In a separate protest Thursday evening, Moscow photographers and journalists picketed the Investigative Committee's headquarters demanding Sinyakov's release, Lenta.ru reported.
Sinyakov, a highly reputable freelance photographer who has worked with Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and Kommersant, was compiling a photo reportage for Lenta.ru at the time of his arrest.