Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper launched a crowdfunding campaign this week, asking readers to support its aggressive investigative work.
Founded by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, Novaya Gazeta gained a reputation for hard-hitting journalism on topics including the 2014 downing of flight MH17 and the 2016 Panama Paper leaks. Six Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed, most notably Anna Politkovskaya in 2006, and, in more than one instance, the paper itself has found itself on the verge of closure.
On Tuesday, the paper’s editorial team reached out to readers with a request to donate to help the outlet maintain its pace of coverage.
“The newspaper hasn’t exercised this right for 25 years, but time has come to change that,” Novaya Gazeta wrote. “You, readers, can forever change the fate of Novaya Gazeta.”
By donating, the plea said, the paper’s content will remain free to its readers, rather than behind a paywall.
In its request for funding, editors also spoke about the high financial and human cost of their 25 years of reporting — the death of their colleagues — but also noted their work had saved lives.
“Reporting should not kill, it must save. Like the work of Novaya Gazeta columnist Major Vyacheslav Izmailov, thanks to which almost two hundred Russian soldiers returned home from Chechen captivity,” it said.
The paper dubbed its funding campaign “Become a Participant,” using the Russian word “Souchastnik,” which can mean both a supporter and a criminal accomplice.
“That’s the meaning of complicity: a joint participation in someone’s fate,” Novaya Gazeta said.
Legislation signed into law by President Vladimir Putin last year allows Russian prosecutors to label media which receives funding from abroad as “foreign agents."