Russia is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous country with about 144 million people. The democratic boom of the 1990s turned first into scepticism to democracy and then shifted into populism in the middle of 2000s, which created a penchant for strong-hand rule. Today, Russian journalists are working in a deteriorating media and legislative environment.
Since 1995, Fojo has implemented journalist training and media development programmes in Russia in cooperation with a number of local partners such as Moscow State University, the Russian Union of Journalists, Barents Press and the Foundation for Independent Broadcasters, to name but a few. The programmes have been designed for media professionals from print, web and broadcast media as well as teachers and students of journalism. From1995 to the middle of 2017, Fojo projects have been of great significance to about 4 700 journalists, media managers, editors, journalism teachers and journalism students.
Russian privately owned media companies are operating in an increasingly tough climate and under difficult economic circumstances. To survive in this environment while delivering good journalism, is a huge challenge. Restrictive laws have led to growing self-censorship among editors, bloggers and journalists. Yet, a number of regional media in Russia continue to provide readers with accurate and balanced news coverage, using innovative presentation formats.
Online media has developed rapidly in Russia. An estimated number of about 71.3 % of the population over the age of 16 (in Moscow and St. Petersburg 83%), accessed the Internet in 2016. In recent years Fojo ́s projects in Russia have focused on the opportunities made possible by new technology in terms of production development and presentation formats. However, they have, also paid attention to the challenges and threats presented by the use of new technology.
News organisations worldwide consider the economic climate and market conditions to be major challenges to editorial independence and the business advancements of their media. Russia is no exception; media organisations here need structures and routines, such as mission statements, news policies and specifications of roles and routines in order to ensure viability. Strong business management skills are fundamental for the survival of privately owned media in Russia. That is why Fojo together with local partners will continue to assist regional media in order to increase their expertise when it comes to management and strategic planning, diversification of revenue streams, and the establishment of new partnerships and networks. Other important areas for journalism training with local partners in Russia will be fact-checking, ethics, story telling, data journalism and presentation formats on-line. And of course the old values of journalism will not be neglected in the age of new media.