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The court has forced Public Russian Television (ORT) to refute in the "Vremya" programme lies disseminated about Yavlinsky and Yabloko

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The Ostankino Intermunicipal Court of Moscow has satisfied the libel action of the Chairman of Yabloko Association Grigory Yavlinsky against already former correspondent of ORT Vadim Mekertychev.

Yavlinsky initiated the legal action in connection with the broadcast on the "Vremya" programme (Ed. "Time" popular news programme) of the ORT channel of a topic devoted to Yavlinsky’s electoral campaign. The topic was broadcast on March 20, 2000, just six days before the presidential elections, where Yabloko's leader participated as a candidate.

Mekertychev had alleged that Grigory Yavlinsky or his Electoral Head-Quarters had been using "negative electoral technologies" and that activists and supporters of Yabloko had "several days before the elections" gone to the biggest Russian cities to disseminate "anonymous leaflets critical of the Acting President" Vladimir Putin, and also claimed that George Soros had allegedly "allocated 10 billion US dollars to Yavlinsky's election campaign".

Grigory Yavlinsky asked the court to oblige the defendant to refute this information. The defendant in turn asked the court to absolve it of responsibility claiming that it had merely reproduced the information of the Agentsvo Politicheskikh Novostei (APN) – (Editor – otherwise known as RIAN or Russian Information Agency Novosti).

The court did not agree with the position of the defendant and found that defamatory information had been disseminated and obliged the ORT to refute this information in the "Vremya" programme. In addition, the court obliged the defendant to pay Yavlinsky 4.000 roubles as compensation for moral damage.

According to the order of the leader of Yabloko, these funds will be allocated to finance the forensic medicine laboratory N 124 (in Rostov-Don) of the Northern Caucasus Military District which identifies the individuals killed during the military conflicts in the south of Russia.

See also:

Presidential Elections 2000

Freedom of speech and Media Law in Russia

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