On 6 June, Transitions launched a new crowdfunding campaign on IndieVoices, Weathering the Storm: The Dangers of Going Green in Putin’s Russia, to raise money for Ecoreporter.ru.
As the space for independent media in Russia continues to shrink, journalists face career and, in some cases, life threats for reporting on certain issues.
“Ecoreporter is not just about environmental stories. It is about environmental rights and the right to protect them [those rights],” said Ecoreporter founder Olga Zakharova.
In September 2013, a group of international Greenpeace activists, known as the Arctic 30, were arrested during a non-violent protest against offshore drilling in the Russian arctic. Although they were protesting in international waters, Russian special forces detained and charged them with acts of “hooliganism.” In a similar circumstance, Russian eco-activist, Yevgeny Vitishko, was sentenced to 3 years in a Russian penal colony for his role in the protests against environmental damages caused by the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi. Such situations demonstrate the risks associated with calling attention to environmental issues in Russia.
“There are not too many countries in the world where it may be harder to be a professional journalist than in Russia,” said IndieVoices founder Sasa Vucinic. “And these brave reporters at Ecoreporter deserve our admiration and financial support.”
Crowdfunding has become a trendy and effective way of raising money for a certain cause or business venture that allows the public to become more involved in the process. Through crowdfunding, individuals can impact the larger community, even if the project contribution is small.
“It’s as simple as replicating the system that has been refined by the business world over many centuries: the marketplace as a tool for efficient funds allocation,” said Vucinic.
In the case of Ecoreporter.ru, as with many other organizations that try crowdfunding, the contributions are instrumental in realizing projects. Transitions decided to use IndieVoices, a platform Vucinic describes as a marketplace tailored for specific media development sector needs that is open to public contributions.
To learn more about the campaign and to help Ecoreporter.ru continue to provide a haven for journalists and eco-activists in Russia, feel free to take a peek at the campaign on IndieVoices—there are only 37 days remaining!