Дайджест
17 Февраля 2010 года

GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION DIGEST No. 465


TOPIC OF THE WEEK
IPI publishes report on world media situation

RUSSIA

1. Republic of Karelia. Republican head’s chief of staff claims moral damage compensation
2. Republic of Karelia. KJU gets Petrozavodsk mayor warned by prosecutor’s office. Continued from Digest 457
3. Yekaterinburg. Regional governor turns reporters out amidst discussion

GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION
Some statistics cited

OUR PARTNERS
1. M. Afanasyev wins Russian Journalists’ Union award   
2. Karelian Journalists’ Union sets up Media & Journalists’ Rights Center

DIGEST MAIL

ANNOUNCEMENT

 




TOPIC OF THE WEEK

IPI publishes report on world media situation


The International Press Institute has published its annual report on the media situation worldwide.

It puts the number of reporters who died around the world in 2000-2009 at a total of 735, including 238 in Asia; 202 in the Middle East and Northern Africa; 162 in North and South America; 68 in Europe; 53 in the rest of Africa; and 12 in the Caribbean.

In 2009 alone, a total of 110 journalists were killed.

According to one of the report’s authors, Anthony Mills, the number of killed media workers has been growing from year to year. The largest numbers of reporters killed between 2000 and 2009 were in Iraq (170) and the Philippines (93, including 32 who died violent deaths last year). In Columbia, the struggle between government forces and rebels, as well as drug dealers, resulted in 58 journalists’ lives lost. Mexico’s death toll was 38, including 11 reporters killed last year.

Russia ranks fifth with 35 reporters killed over the past decade, including 5 last year. The continued deliberate killings of journalists show that humankind is still in a state of barbarism in that respect, A. Mills said.

The report says of particular concern in the situation in the zones of conflicts, in the first place Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where journalists are the targets of real manhunt, according to Mills.

Iran is identified as the country with the largest number of arrested journalists. After last June’s series of mass actions of protest against presidential election vote-rigging more than a hundred media workers were detained there. Iranian authorities continue practicing tough censorship and deportation of foreign reporters. Several dozen media representatives detained in 2009 are still in jail awaiting trial.




RUSSIA

1. Republic of Karelia. Republican head’s chief of staff claims moral damage compensation


By Anatoly Tsygankov,
GDF staff correspondent in North-Western Federal District

Lyudmila Kosyuk, the head of Karelia’s chief of staff, has lodged with the city court of Petrozavodsk a legal claim against the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets v Karelii (MKK) and its author Svetlana Lysenko for circulating what she believes to be “libelous” information.

The underlying publication, “Hospitality for the Chosen”, describes the privatization of state property by top-ranking government officials in the republic. For that purpose, they set up a company, “Hospitality”, which took over from the administration the management of a number of government sites, such as a government hotel, a state reception villa, several countryside houses, etc. In the course of an independent investigation, journalists have established that the hands-changing procedure was preceded by the allocation from the republic’s budget of astronomic sums for reconstruction and repairs; and that administration officials have been building private cottages instead of state-owned dachas, with part of the costs financed from the republic’s budget again.

A close study of the biography of L. Kosyuk brought to light another unseemly story: working in a high school at one time, she had abused her official position by taking food products free of charge from the school canteen.

Lyudmila Kosyuk wants MKK to refute the information about her pedagogical past while staying cool about some much more serious abuses cited by the newspaper. (But the article’s author, feeling that legal claims were likely to follow, collected written evidence from the former director of the canteen of the high school Kosyuk used to work at.) The plaintiff is claiming RUR 300,000 from MKK and RUR 200,000 from S. Lysenko in moral damage compensation.

The newspaper, for its part, continues investigating the reasons for the administration’s strange attitude towards government assets being transferred to private ownership.


2. Republic of Karelia. KJU gets Petrozavodsk mayor warned by prosecutor’s office. Continued from Digest 457

By Anatoly Tsygankov,
GDF staff correspondent in North-Western Federal District

The prosecutor’s office in Petrozavodsk has made a representation to Mayor Nikolai Levin about the breach of journalist Georgy Chentemirov’s lawful rights by officials of the city administration.

The Karelian Journalists’ Union (KJU) earlier appealed to the prosecutor’s office to defend the rights of a reporter whom mayoral officials and security officers had detained and unlawfully compelled to erase an audio recording he had made at an open mayoral sitting (see http://www.gdf.ru/digest/item/1/681#rus1 ).

The prosecutor’s office first reaction was unsatisfactory because no official was even assigned to meet with the journalist whose rights had been violated. It was only after the second, personal, message to Karelia Prosecutor G. Stadler that the situation was checked and the fact of rights violation was confirmed, leading to the representation made to the mayor.


3. Yekaterinburg. Regional governor turns reporters out amidst discussion

By Vladimir Golubev,
GDF staff correspondent in Ural Federal District

On February 11, Sverdlovsk Region’s new governor, Alexander Misharin, called a meeting of ministers, force agency officials and several cities’ mayors to discuss the fate of deceived shareholders.
 
The sensitive question’s debating attracted many media correspondents, the Ura.ru news agency reports. In the middle of the session, the governor suggested discussing one of the cases behind closed doors but then thought better of it and let the reporters stay. Minutes later, he changed his mind again and showed the media people the door right amidst the regional prosecutor Yuri Ponomarev’s speech.

This sudden turn in the discussion shocked the journalists. Over the few months of his stay at the helm it was the first time the governor treated the press in this cold-shoulder manner. Hopefully, discussing things behind closed doors will not become a routine practice with him.




GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION

Some statistics cited

Last week, the Glasnost Defense Foundation was referred to at least 10 times in the Internet, including at:

http://www.rg.ru/2010/02/10/potapenko.html
http://www.rp.pl/artykul/2,431150.html
http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/165266/
http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/165307/
http://www.rosbalt.ru/2010/02/11/712017.html
http://info.ifex.org/View.aspx?id=189800&q=184486247&qz=9c506c
http://www.lenta.cjes.ru/?m=2&y=2010&lang=rus&nid=1727
http://www.gazetanv.ru/archive/article/?id=6156
http://www.gazetanv.ru/archive/article/?id=6157



OUR PARTNERS

1. M. Afanasyev wins Russian Journalists’ Union award   


Reporter Mikhail Afanasyev, who broke the news about potential survivors staying in “air-bag” niches in the drowned areas of the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant, won the main prize in a competition announced by the RF Journalists’ Union.

“I received a paper from the RJU Secretariat saying I had won the 2009 competition in the ‘Journalistic Mastery’ nomination,” the Novy Focus web magazine’s editor-in-chief said on the Ekho Moskvy radio. In his view, the award was particularly for his publications about the power plant disaster. He shared it with two other journalists – Eric Chernyshev and Grigory Nazarenko. “I was only doing my job. I would have been doing it even if I knew they would jail me for that. I know Eric and Grigory well, and I am sure they would have found a way to make that information public, anyway. As regards the prospects, I do hope that RJU recognition will be helping us in our work,” M. Afanasyev said.

His report about potential survivors, published at victims’ families’ request, led to the institution of criminal proceedings against Afanasyev for “the spread of a priori false information” about the power plant accident. E. Chernyshev and G. Nazarenko who had worked at the accident cite were involved as eyewitnesses.

In 2004, Mikhail Afanasyev won the prestigious Andrei Sakharov Award “For Journalism as a Deed” for his publications about office abuses by administration officials. The GDF correspondent in the Siberian Federal District has gone through several criminal proceedings, with all the charges against him finally lifted. Twice – in June 2007 and September 2009 – he became the target of violent attacks, with the perpetrators not found up until now.


2. Karelian Journalists’ Union sets up Media & Journalists’ Rights Center

In their everyday work, journalists come across dozens of questions needing legal experts’ assistance to deal with – e.g. the rights of reporters and editors, the barriers placed in their way, etc. How should one behave in a particular situation without breaking the law? Quite often, media workers are too pressed for time to read up on answers to this question in law books or browse for them in the depths of the Internet. Therefore many colleagues, especially budding journalists, have been asking to open a special page on the KJU website for lawyers to answer reporters’ questions; as the archives keeps growing, they may with time turn into something of a reference book for journalists to use whenever necessary.

Elena Paltseva, a staffer of the Soyuz Partnership of Legal Experts, has long cooperated with the KJU as a professor of law with Petrozavodsk State University. She has performed as a public consultant for our colleagues in difficulty, including those involved in litigations as defendants. Life shows this kind of experience is useful, and journalists said many words of warm appreciation to Elena at the latest KJU congress. Shortly afterwards, the suggestion was voiced that a separate division specializing on media law should be set up – an online Center to Defend Journalists’ and Media Rights. Later on, a special web page will be dedicated to it. Until then, texts will be placed in the “Legal Practices” section.

For details, see
http://journalist.karelia.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=307&Itemid=1




DIGEST MAIL

Dear Mr. Simonov:

Today’s pattern of government-media relations in Novosibirsk Region is difficult to define unambiguously.

The background story is as follows. In 2004 Vyacheslav Yarmanov, the owner and director of the local brick factory, was elected head of the Maslyaninsky District. In many respects, his victory was due to publications of the human rights newspaper Sibir–Moment Istiny (SMI) which had been conducting a large-scale journalistic investigation into the activities of the former district head, P. Tyutyunnik. By carrying a series of revealing articles under the common heading “Power Erosion”, SMI actually paved the way for Yarmanov’s election. It would seem everything was okay: the former leader got punished for his malpractices, and the new one – evidently, a good guy – was at the helm now! But, as it turned out last summer, V. Yarmanov was a former “werewolf in shoulder straps” – a police officer who had at one time sold a pistol (a piece of criminal evidence) to gangsters, for which act he had been convicted and served a prison term near Irkutsk. Moving then to Maslyanino and getting a job at the local brick factory, he had soon privatized the enterprise and bought up the workers’ shares. Later, driving a car in a state of intoxication, he had ridden over a woman and driven away leaving her to bleed to death. The criminal proceedings instituted in connection with the incident had been closed shortly afterwards, with Yarmanov getting away with his crime, and some time later the newly renovated building of the district hospital where the archives were kept (including the medical certificate showing he was drunk on the day of the road accident) had been destroyed in a fire.

After those facts were made public in 2009, SMI and the regional branch of the RF Journalists’ Union found themselves under secret pressure from the regional authorities, with the message quite clear: Leave Yarmanov alone! With time, new evidence of Yarmanov’s malpractices – as the district head now – surfaced, and they too were published by our newspaper. In spite of that, the regional branch of the United Russia Party nominated V. Yarmanov for re-election, pushing the local tensions still higher up. The regional administration held a conference at which it was announced that no repetition of the 2004 pre-election situation would ever be allowed again in the Maslyansky District.

It went as far as threats to the Novosibirsk branch of the Journalists’ Union and its chairman, who is also editor of Sibir–Moment Istiny and the author of a series of critical publications under the common heading “The Maslyaninsky Syndrome”.

Mr. Simonov, we hereby ask you as a journalist and president of the Glasnost Defense Foundation to carefully study the attached documents and decide whether or not such “trifling” local developments as ours should be given attention at all. Honestly, it seems we have ceased understanding the logic of today’s life turning gangsters into heroes and journalists who call gangsters gangsters – into pariahs.

Sincerely,

Andrei Chelnokov,
Chairman, Novosibirsk branch of RF Journalists’ Union,
Editor, newspaper Sibir–Moment Istiny




ANNOUNCEMENT

A conference at the Central House of Journalists on February 16 will discuss the media and civil society situation in the North Caucasus. The group of organizers includes Article 19, the London-based world-renowned organization defending media rights, and its Russian partners – the Media Rights Center (Voronezh) and the Media Rights Defense Center (Makhachkala, Dagestan), with active support from the Glasnost Defense Foundation (Moscow).

The conference will bring together journalists, human rights activists and experts to discuss ways of ensuring media sustainability and establishing effective civil control over the performance of human rights associations and the situation in the North Caucasus. The organizers are hoping the conference participants, who take freedom of expression and Caucasian problems close to heart, will be able to discuss those problems frankly and honestly.




This Digest has been prepared by the Glasnost Defense Foundation (GDF), http://www.gdf.ru.

We appreciate the support of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Digest released once a week, on Mondays, since August 11, 2000.
Distributed by e-mail to 1,600 subscribers in and outside Russia.

Editor-in-chief: Alexei Simonov

Editorial board: Boris Timoshenko – Monitoring Service chief, Pyotr Polonitsky – head of GDF regional network, Svetlana Zemskova – lawyer, Vsevolod Shelkhovskoy – translator, Alexander Efremov – web administrator in charge of Digest distribution.


We would appreciate reference to our organization in the event of any Digest-sourced information or other materials being used.

Contacts: Glasnost Defense Foundation, 4, Zubovsky Boulevard, Office 432, 119992 Moscow, Russia.
Telephone/fax: (495) 637-4947, 637-4420, e-mail: boris@gdf.ru, fond@gdf.ru
To be crossed out from the Digest list of subscribers, please e-mail a note to fond@gdf.ru .

Все новости

Архив
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