RFE/RL is clarifying the circumstances concerning two reporters who collaborated with its Russian Service over their relationship to the campaign of Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak.
Sobchak said on social media that the two video journalists, Aleksandr Rastorguyev and Maria Pavlova, had served as formal surrogates for her campaign in the March 18 election, which incumbent Vladimir Putin won in a landslide.
RFE/RL's Russian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, had contracted Rastorguyev and Pavlova to travel to Russia’s southern Chechnya region to film for a documentary about the presidential election.
"The journalists in question were on assignment with Radio Svoboda to cover elections in Grozny. RFE/RL strictly prohibits its journalists from engaging in any political or partisan activity related to their reporting, and is investigating what happened," RFE/RL said in a March 18 statement.
RFE/RL is a private, nonprofit organization funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress and is overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. agency that supervises civilian government broadcasting and media operations.
It provides news coverage in 20 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.