It’s a battlefield – fighting for attention in the Russian Public

Gregory Shvedov van Caucasian Knot . Foto Pavel Prokopchik

In an interactive workshop, Gregory Shvedov let the participants lead the flow of conversation. Gregory’s website Caucasus Knot is created mainly for Russian speaking audiences, although there is also English content. 

It concentrates on human rights and human interest stories. They also publish a list on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis of people who have died as a result of violence in the region. He feels that a lot of people in Russia do not care enough about Human Rights stories. However, people’s interest is increasing all the time. With 2.8 million hits per month this means that there is someone on their site every second. 

The website is paid for via grants, foreign donors and some advertisement.  It took a long time to build up to what is now a service that provides 24/7 news reporting.  He is always striving to have a user friendly platform so that people can comment and share information.  Currently the website has a community of 19,000 commentators.

Does your work make you scared?

“I am always scared….when I’m on the street I’m scared…I think it’s healthy… you need to be prepared…you need to think what to do if you are detained by police”

What has changed in 12 years since you began?

“Twelve years ago this was all just an idea; to create something different to the traditional human rights reporting countering the unbalanced reporting that came from the region.  The idea was not to be on either side but to report facts in place of propagandas.”

Where do you see this project in 10 years’ time?

“Regional audiences taking more responsibility, not just with reading, but with greater writing and submissions. However there is (also) a responsibility for people outside of the region…human rights is not about borders…people need to check data from other parts of the world…take responsibility for sharing their opinions…it is now the time for people to share things online. With people being more proactive there creates a very powerful tool that can stop human rights abuses in the future.”

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