Дайджест
11 Ноября 2010 года

GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION DIGEST No. 498

TOPIC OF THE WEEK

Attempt on journalist’s life

Two unidentified men attacked Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin in Moscow November 6. They ambushed the journalist near his house in Pyatnitskaya Street soon after midnight and brutally beat him with a metal bar, breaking his leg, jaws and fingers and leaving him with a concussion and a bad craneocerebral trauma. They did not take his money, documents or other personal effects.

The reporter was taken to the resuscitation unit of City Hospital No. 36. The doctors had him operated on, repairing his jaws and shin, extracting the fragments of his broken occipital bone, and amputating one of the fingers. The patient is in a state of superimposed coma and connected to an artificial pulmonary ventilation device. His condition is described as serious but stable. They are against his transfer to another clinic, as the Kommersant management suggested, because any transportation might be harmful to his health.

Kashin’s beating was recorded by security cameras. Clearly, it was not an intimidation act – the attackers hit the victim really hard, aiming to cripple him, if not to kill.

A group of Russian journalists appealed to President Dmitry Medvedev in connection with the attack on O. Kashin, urging him to make sure the case is investigated to the end and the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice. Besides, the asked the president “to take steps to make workable Article 144 of the Criminal Code that envisages legal liability for interference with journalists’ lawful activities”. The appeal was signed, among others, by the prominent journalists Leonid Parfyonov, Dmitry Muratov, Yulia Latynina and Andrei Loshak.

Other colleagues of Kashin have begun what they announced to be a “picketing action of indefinite duration” outside the Moscow police headquarters, demanding a thorough investigation into the brutal attack.

Law enforcement instituted criminal proceedings under Articles 30.3 and 105 of the penal code (“Homicide attempt”), the Investigative Committee under the RF Prosecutor’s Office has reported on its official website. After the study of the video recording, the case was re-qualified as a still graver crime – “homicide attempt by a group of persons”.

President Medvedev asked the Prosecutor General and Interior Ministry to closely oversee the investigation process. The Prosecutor General said he would personally control the proceedings, and Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev appointed the best professionals to investigate the case.

Meanwhile, investigators have said they believe the attack was connected with O. Kashin’s professional activities – a rare occurrence, since the law enforcers are known to be reluctant to link assaults on reporters with their work. Hopefully, they will do a good job this time and will not allow the attackers to stay unpunished.

 

RUSSIA

Tyumen. More shots fired

Continued from Digests 496, 497

Unknown opponents of journalist Viktor Yegorov have continued using firearms to intimidate him.

As we have reported, it all began October 14, when an unidentified young man armed with a baseball bat attacked Yegorov near his house. The journalist managed not only to fight back effectively, but also to capture the bat as a trophy (see Digest 496). A week later, someone fired shots from a fowling piece at the windows of the journalist’s neighbors – evidently, by mistake (see Digest 497)

Later on November 5, more shots were fired – this time at Viktor’s own apartment. One broke the kitchen window, the other hit the wall right over the balcony window. The police arrived ten minutes later and “drew up a protocol, as required,” Yegorov said.

“So they are back – to continue shooting as impudently as they did earlier,” the journalist wrote in his web blog.

One may wonder if the police in Tyumen is capable only of “drawing up protocols” or of taking some more effective measures too. The Glasnost Defense Foundation will urge the prosecutor’s office to put an end to these criminal attacks on V. Yegorov.

Meanwhile, the local Council of Actions Groups and Citizens has announced plans to stage a rally in defense of journalists November 20.

 

Moscow Region. Zhukovskiye Vesti reporter beaten up

In the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow, Anatoly Adamchuk, a Zhukovskiye Vesti journalist who wrote about the detention of children protesting against the destruction of a local forest, has been beaten up.

This was reported in a November 8th interview for the Ekho Moskvy radio station by his colleague Sergey Grammatin. “At about 2:25 a.m. today, A. Adamchuk […] was attacked by two unknown men who hit him on the head from behind and proceeded to beat him as he was lying on the ground. He received a light concussion and a craniocerebral injury, and is now recovering at home,” he said.

According to S. Grammatin, the town police instantly began an investigation, and will shortly decide whether or not to institute criminal proceedings. The police link the attack with Adamchuk’s professional activities and the rally in defense of the forest scheduled for next Sunday.

[Ekho Moskvy report, November 8]

 

Saratov. Yet another journalist attacked

By Yuri Chernyshov,
GDF staff correspondent in Volga Federal District

Sergey Mikhailov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Saratovsky Reporter, was attacked in Saratov late on November 5.

Two unidentified men hit the journalist on the back of the head as he was walking out of a shopping mall, food bags in hand. They pushed him down onto the ground and proceeded to kick him. As far as he remembers, the attackers were scared off by a passer-by who started calling for help. Coming to, Mikhailov found his cell phone missing, although his wallet and food bags were there.

Once back home, the journalist called the police. He had not received any serious traumas – just a few facial bruises. The attack had occurred in a crowded and well-lit place and looked much like an act of intimidation.

 

Republic of Karelia. Censorship imposed?

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

After a recent conference organized by the Karelia Journalists’ Union discussed the position of the republican media, Antonina Kramskikh, a union board member, posted on Vesti Karelii’s website a report summarizing the main points of the event.

Reserved in style and strictly up to the point, the report – to the bewilderment of the readers – was removed from the website shortly afterwards – as it turned out, on orders from L. Khozin, editor of the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets v Karelii (MKK), who had been insistently “advised” to do so by a person deemed to be in a position to issue this kind of recommendations.

This seems alarming. Does it mean censorship is again being practised in the republic? Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: information of public and professional interest was hushed up by MKK – a newspaper that until recently was reputed to be an open and unbiased public informer.

 

Trans-Baikal Region. Journalists detained

By Nadezhda Nizovkina,
reporter, newspaper Svobodnoye Slovo, Ulan-Ude

During a picketing action in Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky in protest against Article 282 of the RF Criminal Code (on the instigation of interethnic, racial or religious hostility), Nadezhda Nizovkina, a reporter for the newspaper Svobodnoye Slovo, and Natalia Filonova, editor of the independent newspaper Vsemu Naperekor, were detained and kept at the police station for 7 hours.

Police officers, who had at first seen nothing wrong with the picketing action and had even been buying both newspapers to read, rushed to crack down on the protesters upon receiving orders from a deputy head of the city administration. While detaining the picketers and keeping them at the police station, police officers inflicted bodily damage on the detainees.

Significantly enough, one of those affected, Natalia Filonova, was manhandled despite her parliamentary immunity. Both Filonova and Nizovkina had shown their journalistic IDs.

 

Newspaper Ivanovo-Press under pressure

Continued from Digest 496

By Natalia Severskaya,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

The independent public and political newspaper Ivanovo-Press in the city of Ivanovo has continued finding itself under strong administrative pressure. As we have reported, its print run was repeatedly bought up by unidentified persons; its office telephones were switched off in the middle of the make-up process; all the regional printing firms have been declining to print the newspaper, etc. (see Digest 496).

Now, according to editor-in-chief Valery Smetanin, the municipal payments center has unilaterally terminated its distribution agreement with Ivanovo-Press without explaining the reasons why, and the mayoral press service has stopped sending its press releases and announcements of pending public events. The staffers see it as administration officials’ and parliamentarians’ reaction to critical publications carried by the newspaper, its editor said.

He also said the regional branch of RosKomNadzor, the federal service overseeing the sphere of information technology and public communications, recently received a strange message, sent on behalf of a local woman resident, reporting some law violations allegedly committed by the I-P editorial board. As it turned out, the message was a fake: its presumed author had never seen the text and never written any complaints at all, which fact she stated in her written appeal to RosKomNadzor, Smetanin said.

 

GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION

Conflicts registered by GDF Monitoring Service on RF territory in October 2010

Deaths of journalists – 1 (Dayan Shakirov, freelance reporter for Chelyabinsky Rabochiy, Kirov Region).

Attacks on journalists – 7 (Natalia Arkhiptseva, editor, Russia Today TV channel, Moscow; Viktor Korb, editor-in-chief, DO-Info news agency, Omsk; Yevgeny Dolganev, freelance correspondent, Provincial News Agency, Omsk; Viktor Yegorov, owner and editor of Skotny Dvor website, Tyumen; Elena Sevryukova, director of Partner Plus agency, Moscow – attacked in Ingushetia; Mikhail Lobanov, reporter, newspaper Permskiye Novosti, Perm; Alexei Andronikov, staff member, newspaper Studencheskaya Pravda, St. Petersburg).

Attacks on media offices – 1 (Novouralskaya Broadcasting Company, Novouralsk, Sverdlovsk Region).

Instances of censorship – 2 (Perm State University – Robert Karapetyan’s documentary “The Oil People”; TV show Kartina Maslom (Oil Painting), Channel Five, St. Petersburg).

Criminal charges against journalists and media – 4 (Aidar Khabibullin, editor-in-chief, Zolotoi Rodnik magazine, Moscow Region; Victoria Gabysheva, reporter, newspaper Vashe Pravo, Irkutsk; Dalkhat Kasayev, freelance reporter, newspaper Karachayevo-Cherkessky Mir, Karachai-Cherkess Republic; Valery Uskov, editor, newspaper Pravda Goroda Zlatousta, Chelyabinsk Region).

Illegal sacking of editor/journalist – 4 (Valentina Shepeleva, editor-in-chief, newspaper Golos Tselinnika, Kurgan Region; Irina Zavyalova, director/editor, Yelninsky Rayon TV/Radio Company, Smolensk Region; Khanzhan Kurbanov, editor-in-chief, Nastoyashcheye Vremya weekly, Sagestan; Olga Aidarova, editor-in-chief, newspaper Balashovskaya Pravda, Saratov Region).

Detention by police, FSB, etc. – 10 (Prsemyslaw Mazecz, RSM correspondent, Arleta Boike, TVP journalist, Boris Cherniawski, TVP cameraman, Marek Osecimski, TVN 24 reporter, and Yuri Koltovich, TVN 24 cameraman – all five detained in Smolensk; Aidar Khabibullin> edotpr-in-chief, Zolotoi Rodnik magazine, Moscow Region; Yevgenia Melnik, special reporter, newspaper Orlovskaya Iskra, Belgorod; Valery Uskov, editor, newspaper Pravda Goroda Zlatousta, Chelyabinsk Region; Maria Klimova, Polit.ru correspondent, and Pavel Nikulin, Kasparov.ru correspondent, both detained in Moscow).

Legal claims against journalists and media, registered – 25, worth a total of RUR 62,448,362.

Earlier claims against journalists and media, considered – 14, satisfied – 8, total amount of moral damage compensation charged – RUR 76,000.

Denial of access to information (including bans on audio/video recording and photography; denials of accreditation; restrictions on visits to or presence at events held in government agencies, at industrial enterprises, in state institutions, etc.) – 40.

Threats against journalists and media – 7 (Vladimir Voronov, investigative journalist, newspaper Sovershenno Sekretno, Москва; Victoria Gabysheva, correspondent, newspaper Vashe Pravo, Yakutsk; Ilya Barabanov, deputy editor-in-chief, The New Times magazine, Moscow; Dmitry Florin, Moscow correspondent, Caucasian Knot news agency; Novolitika.ru website office, Kemerovo; Zarema Gassanova, journalist, Dagestan TV/Radio Company, Dagestan; Viktor Yegorov, owner and editor, Skotny Dvor website, Tyumen).

Refusal to print (or distribute) media – 2 (newspaper Arzamasskiye Vesti, Nizhny Novgorod Region; newspaper Ivanovo-Press, Ivanovo).

Disruption of TV/radio broadcasts – 4 (Radio Odintsova, Moscow Region; Nika TV channel, Sverdlovsk Region; Svoyo TV company, Bryansk; Ekho Moskvy radio station, Moscow – switched off in Omsk Region).

Closure of media – 18 (Moment Istiny TV show, Moscow; Newsweek Russia magazine, Moscow; magazines Oranzhevaya Meduza, Mir Kazachestva, Price Club, and Kubansky Format Kazazhestva, newspapers pravovoi Courier and Courier Priazovya, TV shows Studiya Kalina-TV and ATV – all eight closed in Krasnodar Region; newspapers Bryanskoye Vremya, Branskiye Izvestia, Bryanshchina, and Zemlya Peresveta, almanac Dyatkovsky Pedagogichesky Vestnik, and magazines Perevozki-Bryansky Transport and Vybirai Bryansk – all seven closed in Bryansk; Litsom k Gorody TV show, Moscow).

Confiscation, purchase or arrest of print run – 3 (newspaper Novost, Rostov Region; newspaper Za Spravedlivost v Yugre, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District; newspaper Ivanovo-Press, Ivanovo).

Interference with Internet publications – 2 (websites of The New Times magazine and Ekho Moskvy radio station).

Release of duplicate, i.e. rival, newspapers – 2 (newspaper Kanavinskoye Slovo, Nizhny Novgorod; newspaper Saratovsky Courier, Saratov Region).

Confiscation of, or damage to photo, video or audio apparatus or computers – 2 (video camera of Life News publication, Moscow; video cassette of 100 TV channel, St. Petersburg).

Other forms of pressure/infringement of journalists’ rights – 22.

 

OUR PUBLICATIONS

What is happening to Karelia’s media?

By Anatoly Tsygankov,
chairman, Karelia Journalists’ Union

The recent chain of developments that shattered Karelia’s media community has caused the republican Journalists’ Union board to call a meeting to assess the situation, exchange views and jointly formulate the public organization’s attitude to what is going on.

The list of alarming events is frustratingly long. The team of journalists that released the newspaper Courier Karelii has actually fallen apart. The newspaper Molodyozhnaya Gazeta Karelii is on the verge of closure. Over the past few months, there have been several conflicts involving media outlets co-owned by government bodies. The future of almost all the newspapers released by Karelia Publishers’ is unpredictable. It is not clear what may happen to the parliamentary/government newspaper Karelia, the special publication Litsei, or the children’s newspaper Moya Gazeta. Karelia Publishers’ being a co-founder of all the district newspapers, their future is unclear too. The district papers are unlikely to be closed – but what kind of financial support can they possibly hope for? Power reform in Karelia has also afflicted the republic’s television company Sampo and several Finno-Ugric publications.

While most journalistic teams humbly watch their media outlets being trampled on, the Karelia Publishers’ staffers have turned for help and support to the republican Journalists’ Union. Actually, it was their appeal that formally gave rise to the public discussion.

The conference opened with exchanges of views on the situation within the publishing house that appealed for assistance. Although open to all, the discussion was not attended by the new general director of Karelia Publishers’, Andrei Arkhipov, although he had been invited. The conference room was fully packed, signaling a high degree of civil and professional awareness among the journalists. Debates then turned to the discussion of ongoing “burning” conflicts. The group of speakers included representatives of Karelia Publishers’; A. Farutin, deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Karelia; M. Tikhonov, until recently director of the publishing house; and Y. Shabanov, ex-head of Petronet. Understandably, the focus was on personnel policy. M. Tikhonov declined to discuss his employer’s decisions but gave it to be understood he was offended by the way he had been treated – invited to lead Karelia Publishers’, he was not given the chance to get down to work seriously and was suddenly fired without any explanation – “a mean trick” and “an example for other high-ranking officials to follow”, he noted. A. Farutin did not go farther than observing that the new director A. Arkhipov’s work style “gives rise to questions and breeds mistrust”.

The Journalists’ Union board is concerned over a personnel policy resulting in Maxim Tikhonov, an unquestionably good professional, being kicked out into the street for no obvious reason, and in other journalists suffering from unwise personnel decisions. Those at the helm should not be allowed to neglect professionals or treat people disrespectfully. The apparatus officials in charge of relations with the media should not forget they may not stay long high in the incumbent rulers’ favor, which means they should learn to defend the journalistic profession, rather than stressing their likes or dislikes as regards individual journalists.

The Union board adopted a statement “On the Media Situation in Karelia” dated November 2, which says, in part:

“Last summer’s administration reshuffle that resulted in A. V. Nelidov’s appointment new head of the republic has been accompanied by unmotivated decisions regarding journalistic personnel. Government officials have been showing a flagrantly neglectful attitude toward professionals by terminating contracts with editors without bothering to explain why. Dismissals have proceeded in forms disparaging the human and professional dignity of media workers. That is how M. Tikhonov, director of Karelia Publishers’ and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Karelia, was maltreated: he was dismissed just three weeks after his appointment, with the new leader of Karelia already in office. A similar thing happened to staffers of the republican TV channel Sampo.

“The public association of journalists, without meddling in the work process of specific media outlets, or calling into question the founders’ right to make independent personnel policy decisions, hereby states that we are convinced that government officials’ openly disrespectful treatment of media professionals (editors, journalists) not only insults the journalistic community but also compromises the power system itself.

“We demand that the republican authorities show respect for our colleagues and the journalist’s profession as such. The Federal Media Law stipulates that ‘the state guarantees to each journalist performing his/her professional functions the protection of his/her honor, dignity, health, life and property as a person performing a public duty’.

“In view of the situation as it is today, the Journalists’ Union board urges the authorities:

- to explain what kind of future the media co-owned by government bodies may expect; and

- to assess the latest personnel policy decisions affecting the media in Karelia.”

 

OUR PARTNERS

Press Freedom Award handed to editor of DOSH magazine

The 2010 Press Freedom Award of the International Publishers’ Association, conferred on journalists showing outstanding courage in defending freedom of expression and freedom of the press, was handed in Istanbul November 2. The award symbolizes public acknowledgement of, and respect for, individuals or organizations making substantial contributions to the defense or development of press freedoms in any part of the world. This year’s award went to Israpil Shovkhalov, editor-in-chief of the Caucasian independent magazine DOSH, as announced by IPA President Herman Spruyt.

DOSH magazine defends courageous journalism and openly champions the observance of human rights and keeping up mutual understanding among the belligerents in the Caucasus, the IPA leader said, adding that he admires the activities of DOSH and its entire staff. “We award the 2010 IPA Prize to Israpil Shovlakhov, editor-in-chief of DOSH magazine, as a token of profound respect for his courage,” H. Spruyt said.

The magazine was founded in 2003, is released four times a year, and distributed in several Russian regions, in the Caucasus, and in Europe. Its PDF version is available to readers living far from their homeland. There is also an English-language digest that is distributed in hard copies and in PDF format via the Internet. The magazine features the news, commentaries, analytical materials, and reports from the Caucasus. It is one of the few print publications reporting the news and offering both parties to the ongoing tragic conflict to have their say. Special attention is given to the life stories of war-afflicted individuals, and to analysis of current events. DOSH campaigns for democracy, justice and social openness.

Before that, Anna Politkovskaya was the sole Russian journalist to be given the IPA award – posthumously.

 

Russian-Ukrainian relations discussed in Voronezh

By Roman Zholud,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

In 2009-2010, the East Ukrainian Public Initiatives Center (based in Lugansk) and the Media Rights Center (based in Voronezh) conducted in both regions, as part of the Trans-Border Reporting Project, public monitoring of press publications dedicated to Russian-Ukrainian relations. The goal was to study the problems of trans-border information exchanges between the regions of Lugansk and Voronezh and to recommend ways of improving them based on the set of values upheld by the European Union.

The project involved journalists from Voronezh and Lugansk who prepared and published stories about the various aspects of public life in the two neighboring regions.

The monitoring results were made public at two joint presentations. The first took place in Lugansk October 22, and the second in Voronezh October 27, as part of a round-table conference entitled “Coverage of Russian-Ukrainian Relations in the Print Media of Voronezh and Lugansk Regions”.

The round table was attended by Voronezh Region administration officials, the Foreign Ministry office in Voronezh, the regional department of RosKomNadzor (the agency in charge of public communications), as well as scientists, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Ukrainian community in Voronezh.

Reporting on the results of the project, participants pointed out that local newspapers seldom carry stories describing Russian-Ukrainian relations as illustrated by local practices, preferring to write about intergovernmental contacts at national level. Quite often, such publications are ideologically marked and fail to reflect real life in the neighboring region. Still, most publications in both countries are positive in their tonality, as established by the monitors.

A group of experts developed a set of recommendations during the round tables in Voronezh and Lugansk on ways of improving information exchanges between the two regions with due regard for the EU values. Specifically, they pointed to the need to promote various forms of cooperation between Russian and Ukrainian journalists, public activists and scientists, and to give special attention to cultural and humanitarian exchanges, such as concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and local press publications. Several specific projects were proposed to encourage inter-country communications without political bias, and to jointly develop an Internet resource providing coverage of Russian-Ukrainian contacts.

The Trans-Border Reporting Project is co-sponsored by the PAUSI Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

 

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 Yefremov – 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

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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