13 Марта 2013 года

Glasnost defence foundation digest No. 606

11 March 2013



Journalist accused of threatening government official with murder in Moscow Region

By Natalia Severskaya, GDF correspondent in Central Federal District

Yelena Polyakova, a reporter for the newspaper Serp I Molot based in the city of Klin, Moscow Region, is accused of threatening a local lady official with murder. She insists, though, that the criminal charges were brought against her in revenge for her criticism of the authorities.

The criminal case in which she poses as the accused has been under investigation for more than a year now, Polyakova said. The victim is A. Sokolskaya, head of the Klin district education department and wife of Deputy Prosecutor A. Kozlov. Initially, Polyakova was involved in the proceedings as a witness, then as a suspect, and currently she is facing charges of “politically or ideologically motivated murder threat” under Article 119.2 of the RF Criminal Code.

Back in November 2011, her apartment, where she lives with her husband and five underage children, was searched, Polyakova said. As could be gathered from the search warrant, Sokolskaya had filed a complaint saying that Polyakova, having registered on a chat forum under the nicknames “Andrei Smirnov” and “Lion Archibald”, threatened her with murder. One of the forum visitors had written a comment that law enforcement qualified as criminal. The comment, posted on the regional public movement Soglasiye I Pravda (Concord and Truth)’s website under the article “Big Change”, read as follows:

“Which hand should Sokolskaya be caught by? Is she as a municipal official really allowed under the law to engage in business (and run a) hairdresser’s shop, a bank, a travel agency and a commercial school and kindergarten? What about her having been seen attending a prosecutors’ party – is that normal for an education department head? And her decision to shut down several free hobby groups for children without the district leader’s approval? Just think of all those knowledgeable pedagogues who have quit schools and kindergartens because of her! By Stalin’s or Chinese laws, she would have been shot in the head long ago!”

The search of Polyakova’s apartment resulted in the seizure of a PC system unit and two memory cards. The journalist was then taken to the district police department for questioning. Her newspaper office was searched too, with the system unit of the computer on Polyakova’s desk seized. Soon afterward, the newspaper management refused to extend the work contract with Polyakova, leaving her jobless.

In July 2012 the investigators requested the closure of her criminal case, but the regional prosecutor’s office said no. Defence lawyer N. Popova filed a similar request in her client’s name some time later, but the accused doubts that her lawyer’s arguments will be heard, ever.

Polyakova sees this prosecution campaign as a good pretext for the local authorities to remove a disagreeable journalist from the scene.

[Based on reports by Committee for Civil Rights]

Persons resembling administration officials prevent reporter from doing his job in Saratov

After a private car fell into a pit at the crossing of Pervomaiskaya and Nekrasov Streets in Saratov on 7 March, Alexei Ovchinnikov, a reporter for the Vzglyad-Info news agency, went to the scene to take photo pictures and interview the hapless car owner.

However, three men who presented themselves as officials of the district administration attempted to prevent the journalist from doing his work. They approached Ovchinnikov and demanded that he switch off his camera, threatening otherwise to break it. One of the men grabbed the reporter by his arms, another tore away the camera and erased some of the images. After that, all the three got into a car and drove away.

According to Vzglyad-Info, one of the men was “the speaking image of Sergey Chervyakov, deputy head of the Volzhsky district administration”. It was he who held the reporter by the arms while his colleagues were erasing the images. The news agency requested the district administration’s explanations but received no comment.



Report “Freedom of Expression in Kazakhstan 2012” released

The Adil Soz International Foundation in Defence of Freedom of Expression has released its analytical report “Freedom of Expression in Kazakhstan 2012”.

The document lists instances of pressure on journalists and media and points to the large number (19 vs. 16 in 2011) and cruel nature of attacks on journalists and media offices.

“Virtually all of the attacks on journalists, other media workers and media offices remain unsolved,” the report says, citing as an exception the 20 April attempt on the life of Uralskaya Nedelya reporter Lukpan Akhmedyarov, who was gravely wounded and taken to hospital with seven knife stabs and a gunshot wound.

Also, the report lists threats against journalists; imprisonment, arrests and detention of reporters connection with their professional work; administrative charges against journalists; refusals to provide information; restrictions on freedom of expression in the Internet, and other forms of pressure.

“The freedom-of-expression situation reached a critical point in 2012,” the report says. “Terrorist acts, the emergence of religious extremist groups, labour conflicts and managers’ inability to settle them in a peaceful and civilized manner all led to a stiffening of domestic policies that had a heavy negative impact on the situation with freedom of expression. As a result, in an atmosphere of total lawlessness, the majority of opposition media were closed, and legislative innovations – contrary to Kazakhstan’s international obligations – led to restrictions on freedom of expression and information.”



Newspaper editor beaten up

In Vinnitsa, Ukraine, on 5 March, unidentified persons beat up Taras Chornoivan, chief editor of the local newspaper and website Tarasova Pravda, the regional prosecutor’s office’s press service reported.

The city police department on 6 March started legal proceedings under Article 122 (“Deliberate infliction of medium-gravity bodily harm”) of the Ukrainian Criminal Code. The prosecutor’s office in Vinnitsa is overseeing the pre-trial investigation and providing legal counselling.

The journalist’s preliminary medical examination diagnosed a cranio-cerebral injury, broken ribs, chest bruises and numerous haematomas.

He was attacked by three sturdy men, who pushed him onto the ground and proceeded to kick away at him, Chornoivan told his colleagues. His cries for help were heard by neighbours, who called the police and an ambulance.

The journalist links the attack with the release of the latest issue of his newspaper Tarasova Pravda, featuring a front-page satirical photo collage and a sharply critical article about Vinnitsa ex-Governor Aleksandr Dombrovsky.

[Obozrevatel report, 6 March]



Media-related conflicts registered by GDF Monitoring Service on RF territory in February 2013

Attacks on journalists – 4 (Yulia Strelnikova, director, TRK-Prichulymye television channel, Krasnoyarsk Region; Viktor Nedosvetey, editor, Nepravilnaya Gazeta newspaper, Nenets Autonomous District; Sergey Drobyshev, cameraman, 6TV Channel, Khabarovsk; Aleksandr Salivanchuk, cameraman, Novy Region news agency, Yekaterinburg).

Attacks on media offices, TV and radio stations – 1 (Vremya-Stavropolsky Krai newspaper, Stavropol Region).

Instances of censorship – 2 (Istoki newspaper, Republic of Altai; Vperyod newspaper, Vladimir Region).

Criminal charges against journalists and media – 4 (Aleksandr Nikolayenko, freelance journalist, Kemerovo Region; Valery Ryumin, founder, Vechernyaya Ryazan newspaper, Ryazan; Vadim Belotserkovsky, freelance journalist, USA; Andrei Rashchupkin, freelance journalist, Vladimir).

Unlawful sacking of editor/journalist – 3 (Aleksandra Bogatyr, chief editor, Istoki newspaper, Republic of Altai; Irina Basyuk, chief editor, Vestnik Prigranichya newspaper, Maritime Region; Vladimir Sasin, editor, Vperyod newspaper, Vladimir Region).

Detention by police, FSB, etc. – 5 (Timur Zainullin, journalist, Fontanka.ru, St. Petersburg; Valery Ryumin, founder, Vechernyaya Ryazan newspaper, Ryazan; Lev Lerman, Novaya Gazeta correspondent, and Stanislav Vlasov, freelance journalist, both detained in Nizhny Novgorod Region; Masha Gessen, director, Radio Liberty Russian Service, detained in Mordovia).

Refusals to provide information (including bans on use of audio recorders and video/photo cameras; refusals to provide accreditation; restrictions on admittance to official events held by government bodies, industrial enterprises or state institutions) – 32.

Threats against journalists and media – 5 (journalists at Noviye Kolyosa newspaper, Kaliningrad; Volga TV Company, Nizhny Novgorod; Andrei Piontkovsky, observer, Grani.ru, Moscow; Maksim Yakubov, journalist, Materialy Del I Otsenka Dokazatelstv news agency, Nizhny Novgorod Region).

Disruption of TV and radio broadcasting – 2 (Europe Plus Ufa and Militseiskaya Volna radio stations, Ufa).

Closure of media – 5 (Tema TV show, Kemerovo Region; Polden XXI Vek magazine, St. Petersburg; FM Dostoyevsky radio show, Moscow; Openspace.ru web portal, Moscow; Golos Prigranichya TV show, Maritime Region).

Withdrawal, purchase or seizure of print run – 2 (Pravda Severa newspaper, Arkhangelsk; Permskiye Sosedi newspaper, Perm).

Interference with media release – 1 (Mestnaya newspaper, Krasnodar Region).

Interference with Internet publications – 1 (Russia Today TV Company’s website).

Release of duplicate (i.e., rival) publications – 1 (Nash Rayon-Sverdlovsky newspaper, Perm).

Confiscation of/ damage to photo, video or audio apparatus and computers – 1 (video camera of Aleksandr Salivanchuk, cameraman, Novy Region news agency, Yekaterinburg).

Other forms of pressure/ infringement of journalists’ rights – 37.



2013 Andrei Sakharov Competition “Journalism as an Act of Conscience” announced

We hereby announce the start of the 2013 Andrei Sakharov Competition “Journalism as an Act of Conscience”. Journalists are invited to submit their works for this year’s contest before November 1.

The Andrei Sakharov Award “For Journalism as an Act of Conscience” is conferred on journalists for publications reflecting the authors’ active life stands consistently translated into their highly professional work, and for defending the values Dr. Andrei D. Sakharov used to defend during his lifetime.

The materials submitted for the competition should have been published between October 15, 2012 and October 15, 2013 in Russian print and online media. Candidates for the award may be nominated by editorial boards and individual Russian citizens.

All materials must be submitted in print or electronic format (on diskettes or CDs, or as e-mail messages sent to fond@gdf.ru or boris@gdf.ru). Print versions shall be mailed to: Glasnost Defence Foundation, 4, Zubovsky Boulevard, Office 438, 119992, Moscow, Russia, with a note: “Andrei Sakharov Competition ‘Journalism as an Act of Conscience’.”

Contact phone: (+7 495) 637-4947.

This digest was prepared by the Glasnost Defence Foundation in Moscow. The digest has been issued once a week, on Mondays, since August 11, 2000.

We acknowledge the assistance of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

Currently it is distributed by e-mail to 1,600 subscribers in and outside Russia.

Editorial board

  • Editor-in-chief, Alexei Simonov
  • Boris Timoshenko, Head of Monitring Service;
  • Svetlana Zemskova, GDF Lawyer;
  • Vsevolod Shelkhovskoy, translator.

We welcome the promotion of our news items and articles but if you make use of any information from this digest or other GDF materials please acknowledge the source.


Glasnost Defence Foundation, Room 438, 4 Zubovsky Boulevard,
119992 Moscow, Russia.

Telephone/fax: +7 (495) 637-4947 and +7 (495) 637-4420
e-mail: boris@gdf.ru , or fond@gdf.ru

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ФЗГ продолжает бороться за свое честное имя. Пройдя все необходимые инстанции отечественного правосудия, Фонд обратился в Европейский суд. Для обращения понадобилось вкратце оценить все, что Фонд сделал за 25 лет своего существования. Вот что у нас получилось:
Полезная деятельность Фонда защиты гласности за 25 лет его жизни