Elena Vlasenko, a young journalist who resigned in protest from the Moscow bureau of Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) after dozens of her colleagues were fired by the American management, is one of the finalists of the Andrei Sakharov Award for “Journalism as an Act of Conscience (Зa журналистику как поступок).
Vlasenko is the second member of the Radio Liberty in Exile group (SvobodaNew.com) to be recognized recently for outstanding journalism at the U.S. taxpayer-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), from which they were fired or resigned in protest. Her colleague, human rights reporter Kristina Gorelik, who was fired, has received the Moscow Helsinki Group prize for “journalistic activity aimed at promoting human rights values.”
Elena Vlasenko was a video reporter at Radio Liberty in Moscow. She described the mass firing of Radio Liberty journalists in an article written for the Index on Censorship blog UNCUT.
The Sakharov Award “Journalism as an Act of Conscience” was instituted in 2001 by Peter Vins, an American-Russian businessman who emigrated to the United States in the late 1970s and returned to Russia in 1993. He is a former member of the human rights organization Moscow Helsinki Group. The Award is conferred on journalists for highly professional work and for defending the values championed by Dr. Andrei D. Sakharov. One of the members of the jury in the past was murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya. One of the finalists in 2011 was Mikhail Khodorkovsky for his articles published in “Novaya Gazeta”.