A woman in front of the Duma, lower house of the Russian Parliament, with a poster „Down the legs of women journalists“, March 21, 2018
Russian media announced on Thursday that they were now boycotting the Russian parliament and withdrawing their accredited journalists to protest a committee’s decision to exonerate a member accused of sexual harassment.
Gathered Wednesday to consider the accusations made against Leonid Sloutsky by female journalists, the State Duma Ethics Committee, the lower house of parliament, „did not find any violations of the rules of behavior“ at this pro-Kremlin MP.
„With this decision, the ethics commission has de facto recognized as normal the possibility of sexually harassing journalists,“ denounced on its website the group RBK, announcing „the withdrawal of all its journalists (website, TV channel, newspaper, magazine) covering the activities of the Duma „.
The journalists of the Russian channel Dojd Daria Jouk and BBC Farida Rustamova who accused the deputy Leonid Sloutski of sexual harassment in the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, on March 21, 2018
The television channel Dojd, close to the opposition, announced the same decision, describing in a statement the commission’s decision as „unacceptable and humiliating“.
The Duma is „now considered a dangerous workplace for journalists of both sexes (you never know what are the preferences of a deputy)“, abounded on Telegram independent radio Ekho Moskvy.
Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) also withdrew his journalists from the lower house, after a statement by the president of the Duma Vyacheslav Volodin who had advised the journalists inconvenienced to change jobs.
The Govorit Moskva radio station and the Znak news site have followed suit by announcing the boycott of the Duma by their journalists, as has the RTVI TV channel, whose vice president, Ekaterina Kotrikadze, claimed in late February that she was sexually harassed. by Leonid Sloutski in 2011.
„We are surprised and disappointed by the decision of the commission (…) that turned the meeting into a trial of victims,“ said Wednesday evening the newspaper Kommersant who announced he no longer cover the activities of Mr. Sloutski, except for those related to sexual harassment charges, like other media, such as the news site Lenta.ru.
„Only together can we change the situation,“ said Dojd’s editor-in-chief Alexander Perepelov, calling on other Russian media to join the boycott movement.
The business daily Vedomosti has announced that its journalists will no longer have direct contact with MP Sloutski and the members of the State Duma Ethics Committee.
The media participating in the boycott will not have their accreditations renewed after their expiry, warned Mr. Volodine during a press point.
Asked by journalists, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment, saying it was an internal matter of the Duma.
A policeman in front of the Duma, lower house of the Russian Parliament in Moscow, March 21, 2018
The accusations against Leonid Sloutsky were the first media case of sexual harassment scandal in Russia since the emergence of the #MeToo movement after the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. They prompted many women to speak on the subject, in a country where harassment cases are often relativised or treated with irony.