Persecution of reporters becomes trend in Russia

Ekho Moskvy radio on 2 July – Text report

[Presenter] The USA has granted political asylum to two Russian journalists – Radio Liberty analyst Yuriy Bagrov and Regnum news agency chief editor Fatima Tlisova. Tlisova and Bagrov were persecuted by the authorities for their publications about the events in the North Caucasus, the International Committee to Protect Journalists in New York has said.

The number of journalists who have to seek political asylum in other countries makes it possible to speak about statistics for political refugees, the director of the Centre of Journalism in Extreme Situations, Oleg Panfilov, said.

[Panfilov] There are 11 such journalists. If we add Bagrov to this list, he left Russia somewhat quietly, the list will total 15 people over the last two years. Also, we should add to the list the journalists who arrived as part of the European Pen Centres programme and lived some time in Hamburg, like, for example, Olga Kitova and Sergey Golovkin from the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Unfortunately, we have to speak about this becoming a trend. Most of all we encounter instances of pressure that force journalists to leave the country.

[Presenter] Panfilov added that the legal base should be changed to remedy the situation. Over 40 amendments to laws have been passed in Russia over the last seven years and all of them are of repressive nature. Also, the education system should be changed because often journalists do not know how to defend their rights.

Previously the US Committee to Protect Journalists said that 14 journalists had died as a result of contract killings in Russia over the last seven years. Therefore, Russia has the third highest death rate among journalists after Iraq and Algeria..

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