In Voronezh, Rights in Russia recently had the opportunity to ask Galina Arapova, chair of the Media Rights Defence Centre (which this last November celebrated the 15th anniversary of its founding) about a new legal database her Centre has set up.
Rights in Russia: Could you tell us about the new database?
Galina Arapova: Yes of course. We have created a special Database on Russian Judicial Practice in Media Law. The database is for everything related to freedom of expression, access to information. We have identified all the categories of cases and claims, civil and criminal, that can be brought against journalists, editors and other media workers. On this basis we have sought to gather together judicial judgments from the widest range of Russian regions with the help of colleagues, media lawyers, editors. We have also asked judges, and some judges have given us a full list of rulings that they have made, providing us with judgements from their archives. For example, we have been very grateful to the chair of Lipetsk regional court. We sent them a request for information and the chair of Lipetsk court instructed his staff to provide us with all the media law cases – there were 180 cases – from the last ten years. It’s a huge amount of work that the staff of the court did to give us all their judicial practice for our database. Not every chair of a regional court will go to such lengths to give information to an open, non-governmental, database. [Read more]