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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Original LR Translation: Documenting the Legacy of Media Murder in Putin's Russia, by LR's Translator S.S.

The Glasnost Defence Foundation, an NGO founded in 1991 to support Russian media and provide advocacy for journalists, has released figures (in Russian) on the incidents relating to journalists in the Russian Federation this year. In total 1502 incidents were recorded, a figure that has risen every year since 2003, when 1119 incidents were reported.

8 journalists were killed in 2007, including Vadim Kuznetsov, chief editor of the magazine World and Home St Petersburg. This figure compares to 9 deaths in 2006 and is a drop from 20 deaths in 2003.

75 attacks on journalists are recorded, again up from 2006 but lower than the 96 attacks reported for 2003. 11 attacks on editorial staff were reported.

Journalists continue to be persecuted by law enforcement agencies, including the FSB. Forty six journalists were prosecuted in 2007, with several facing more than one charge. Gleb Ivanov, the chief editor of Fakt i Kompromat, published in Astrakhan, was detained in March and faced four charges of libel, relating to a complaint made by T. Belova, head of the regional branch of the Federal Registration Service. It is widely believed that Ivanov’s arrest was an act of persecution organised by Belova resulting from an allegation of sexual harassment made against her which had been published in Fakt i Kompromat. [GDF report is here].

Natalya Petrova, a documentary journalist from Kazan was arrested on the 6th of September 2007 and badly beaten by the police. She has since left Kazan, though her parents have continued to be harassed and threatened by the police. [Reporters sans frontières report here]

In addition, 140 journalists were arrested, almost twice as many as in 2006 and more than six times the number arrested in 2003. 220 lawsuits were issued against Russian journalists --158 fewer than in 2003 -- and more than 5 million roubles were collected in damages.

There continue to be barriers to journalists both accessing and disseminating information. Access to government and business has been limited and accreditation has been refused to some journalists: 238 such cases were reported this year.

As well as this, censorship remains a problem. 33 acts of censorship against newspapers, magazine and television and radio programmes were reported. Again this is a rise from 2006 and 2005 which recorded 28 and 23 such acts respectively. 34 reports of refusal to print in the press and 27 refusals to broadcast or terminations of broadcast of radio and television programmes were reported. The withdrawal or seizure of print runs has increased dramatically: 92 instances were recorded. This is a large rise from 28 seizures in 2006. Internet publications have also had their work disrupted, a total of 41 cases were reported in this area.

Generally cases of pressure upon journalists and other rights violations have increased overall from 281 in 2003 to 376 this year.

Other Russia has also reported on the GDF data.

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