Wednesday, May 25, 2016


RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports the news in one of the most violent and dangerous regions in the world, where media freedom and journalists remain under severe threat.

 

Fast Facts

  • Languages: Avar, Chechen, Circassian
  • Established: 2002
  • Distribution: Radio (SW, satellite), Internet (3 websites, social media)
  • Coverage: Radio: 7 hours per week
  • Location: Prague
  • Staff: 8 (Prague), 15 stringers

 

 

 

Media Environment

 

 

  • Media outlets in the North Caucasus face the same limitations as those elsewhere in Russia, with the additional hazard of being located in one of the most violent and dangerous regions in the world. Assassinations and bombings by both Islamist rebels and Russian security forces are common, and anyone viewed as a potential threat can be imprisoned.
  • Defamation was decriminalized in 2011, but many public officials have successfully initiated defamation cases and severe punishments are imposed.
  • Due to security conditions for unsanctioned media, RFE/RL is unable to operate a local bureau in the North Caucasus region.

 

Highlights

 

  • RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service is the only international broadcaster to provide objective news and analysis to the North Caucasus in Chechen, Circassian and Avar. Broadcasting in all three languages puts the Service in a unique position to report on news between the regions.
  • Following the May 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the North Caucasus Service was the first media to interview the mother, father and uncle of alleged bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; North Caucasus Service reporting on the Tsarnaev family was widely quoted in international media.
  • The North Caucasus Service is the only Chechen media outlet to provide in-depth coverage of human rights abuses by the police and security forces and social taboos.
  • RFE/RL North Caucasus Service reporting that Chechen was not being properly taught in schools led to the creation of a Chechen Language Day and increased local broadcasting in Chechen.
  • In early 2015, as a step toward preserving Chechnya’s literary heritage, the North Caucasus Service launched an online library available for free to users with both text and audio versions of classics selected from Chechen poetry and prose, as well as works from contemporary authors.
  • The North Caucasus Service was among the first to tell the story of Chechens fighting on both sides in Ukraine. The service interviewed Isa Munayev, commander of the international volunteer peacekeeping battalion, in August 2014, one week before he arrived in Ukraine. Munayev was killed in eastern Ukraine on February 1, 2015, where he was battling alongside Kiev government troops against pro-Moscow separatists.


Updated: 9 June 2015


Facts & Stats



RUSSIA

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 180 out of 199 (2015)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
152 out of 180 (2015)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
136 out of 175 (2014)

Global Peace Index (IES):
152 out of 162 (2014)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Russia (2015)

Amnesty International:
Russia Report (2014/2015)

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CHECHNYA


Population
1,268,989 (2010 census)

Ethnic Groups:
Chechen, Russian, others

Religions:
Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox

Languages:
Chechen, Russian, others

DAGHESTAN

Population
2,910,249 (2010 census)

Ethnic Groups:
Northeast Caucasians (Avar, Dargin, Lezgin, others); Turkic and others (Kumyk, Nogai, Azeri, and others); Russian

Religions:
Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox

Languages:
Russian, over 30 others (11 indigenous)

INGUSHETIA

Population
412,529 (2010 census)

Ethnic Groups:
Ingush, Chechen, Russian, other

Religions:
Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox

Langagues:
Ingush, Russian

KABARDINO-BALKARIA

Population

859,939 (2010 census)

Ethnic Groups:
Kabardin, Russian, Balkar, other

Religions:
Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox

Languages:
Kabardin, Balkar, Russian

KARACHAYEVO-CHERKESSIA

Population
477,859 (2010 census)

Ethnic Groups:
Karachai, Russian, Cherkess, Abazin, Nogai, other

Religions:
Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox

Languages:
Karachai, Cherkess, Russian, others