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Russian Journalists Air 'Silent Broadcasts' to Dodge Prosecution

Protesters in Khabarovsk have been taking to the streets in support of jailed ex-governor Sergei Furgal since last July. Dmitry Morgulis / TASS

Russian journalists in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk have started airing “silent broadcasts” as a way to avoid prosecution, the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news outlet reported Monday.

The live-streams of protests without commentary follow the detentions of several journalists in recent months for “participation in unsanctioned rallies,” RFE/RL’s Siberian affiliate Sibir.Realii reported. 

“Such coverage is our symbolic answer to the repressive environment faced by journalists," Tatyana Khlestunova, a reporter from the Prosto Gazeta (Just A Newspaper) outlet who was jailed for several days for her coverage, told Sibir.Realii.

Protesters in Khabarovsk have been taking to the streets in support of jailed ex-governor Sergei Furgal since last July, when he was arrested on charges of murder that allegedly took place over a decade ago. 

Khlestunova added that the March 10 sentencing of a local Orthodox archpriest to 20 days in jail for publicly supporting the protesters was the last straw that prompted the journalists’ “silent broadcasts.”

Russia has labeled RFE/RL and its affiliates as “foreign agents.”

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