Back to top
sergey smirnov

Sergey Smirnov

HRD, Editor-in-chief

Sergey Smirnov is a human rights defender and the editor-in-chief of the prominent independent media outlet Mediazona. Founded in 2014, Mediazona covers the work of the justice system in Russia through reporting on trials, law enforcement and the penitentiary system. Mediazona often covers cases of human rights violations, political prosecution and assaults on independent journalists. In 2020 Mediazona began its work in Central Asia, namely in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus and is a recipient of the Free Media Awards 2020 by The Fritt Ord Foundation and the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius.



The environment for the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Russian Federation is difficult. The anti-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation amended in 2016 authorises law enforcement agencies and special police to infringe on political and civil rights, as well as on the right to privacy of HRDs. At the same time, the authorities frequently fail to impartially and thoroughly investigate criminal offences perpetrated against HRDs and independent journalists, which is also abetted by the extreme corruption of the Russian judicial system and its non-compliance with international standards of justice and rule of law.