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Russian journalists under attack

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Russian journalists under attack


Last week, two journalists were seriously assaulted in Russia.

One of them was Oleg Kashin, a business reporter at the Kommersant daily.

Now a group of Russian MPs have proposed a bill to toughen sentences on those who attack journalists.

euronews’ Ioulia Poukhli asked Vsevolod Bogdanov, president of the Russian Union of Journalists, what can be done to stop the intimidation of reporters in Russia.

euronews: “How widespread is this violence?”

Bogdanov: “Every year we hold a ceremony to remember our murdered colleagues. We’ve lost 300 of our members in the past 20 years in this way. For every 10 or 15 journalist murdered, just one or two perpetrators are ever identified and punished. We never find out who is ordering these killings.”
euronews: “Who do you think is behind them?”

Bogdanov: “I think the powers that be are responsible. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, ideology has been replaced by spin and other new political tactics.

“These strategies help drive political campaigns and those who have mastered them have done their best to diminish the importance of journalism, (to ensure) that the profession no longer plays a major role in shaping public opinion.

“Those responsible range from the very top of the political hierarchy right to local level at the bottom.”

euronews: “Why are we seeing this level of violence against journalists? What can be done to stop it?”

Bogdanov: “We have to toughen the law to protect journalists. A lot depends on the authorities, the parliament and the president.

“To get people to trust the media once again, the politicians need to stop using spin and other political tricks to discredit the work of journalists.

“As it stands, it’s easier to manipulate and shape public opinion but I think President Medvedev understands this situation is serious.

“The fact that he is talking about this problem in a concrete way and that he is calling for solutions to be found as soon as possible gives me hope that the way journalists operate in Russia will change.

“I hope that we will one day know the names of who committed these crimes against our colleagues and who exactly ordered them.”

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