Lies of behalf of the authorities and the
absence of independent information has been at the source
of Russia’s troubles throughout its history, said Yabloko’s
leader Grigory Yavlinsky, when advocating the freedom of
speech at a meeting with representatives of international
He also cited the example of how people
deprived of any information on Chernobyl catastrophe when
on a demonstration on May 1 in Kiev and referred to the
rising death toll in Chechnya. Yavlinsky also noted that
the Yabloko party protests against the governments’ policy
towards press freedom.
In his opinion this issue is more important
for Russia today than for any other European country, as
the number of independent mass media in Russia is very small.
Therefore an attack on the freedom of speech
is implicitly an infringement of political freedoms and
the democratic system in general. “If there is a goal to
liquidate political parties in Russia it is sufficient to
liquidate only one television channel and several papers,
so that none of the non-Kremlin politicians has an opportunity
to inform the citizens of the viewpoint of his electorate
and his party,” stressed Yavlinsky. Yavlinsky called pressure
on NTV television company as “pressure on the main independent
information base of the thinking part of society”, which
in the end renders the prospects of stable and secure society
in Russia very doubtful.
At the meeting Yavlinsky also said that
the political culture of Russia’s mass media is very low.
Yavlinsky said: “The main TV channels owned
by the state are used exclusively for political manipulation.”
Lies and unjustified charges are possible, as there is no
independent court system in Russia. By lowering the political
culture of the population in general, the authorities hope
to create a system of a “manageable democracy”, a term which
has recently been used frequently by the presidential advisors.
The delegation now visiting Russia on the
invitation of the Journalists’ Union includes the Chairman
of the World Committee for the Free Press James Ottaway,
the heads of the Committee for Protection of Journalists,
the International Federation of Journalists, the International
Federation of the Periodic Press, the International Institute
of Press and the International Newspaper Association.