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On infringement of freedom of speech in the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia

Statement of the Karachayevo-Cherkessian branch of the YABLOKO party

September 11, 2009

Everywhere and everyday, almost every hour speakers from television screens assure Russian citizens that freedom of press and freedom to speak openly without fear is the greatest achievement of democracy. And they say that in the sake of this freedom we should endure everything: growth of food-stuffs prices, skyrocketing communal services tariffs, rise of unemployment, growth of crime, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. However, where is the freedom which costs us so much?

The recent developments around official printed media in Karachayevo-Cherkessia demonstrate that we dont have freedom of press in our Republic and are unlikely to have it until the governments realise that newspapers and other media are not a toy, it is printed media which should not depend on the whims of the authorities, but should be created and function for the people so that to protect people from arbitrary rule, wherever it comes from, it is the voice of people. There certainly should be co-founders in papers, but the key founder is still the people, the readers. And this key unofficial founder supports printed media not for the sake of someone else who could dispose of the media at his full discretion. Financial flows that the Government of the Republic allots to maintenance of the official media are taken not from someones pockets but from the budget which is replenished by means of taxes we pay rather than by the army of bureaucrats we are feeding.

Papers contain too many official articles from different press-services singing praises to the new bosses of life. However, bright and honest articles, like in the paper Den Respubliki (The Day of the Republic) sometimes make their way to the reader via this garish flow. Such articles and independent position of their authors who are ready to defend justice result in attacks against the paper by the leaders of the Republic, who would prefer to turn it into a simple sheet of paper

The law says that we should find out quid prodest. And who will profit from the foundation of the so-called publishing house? The papers? Their readers? The answer is negative. The former in this case would fall under governments control and would not be able to express their opinion freely. The latter would not only be deprived of objective information, but also of the aid and defence the residents of the Republic often seek in media as the last resort. This means that only the Government which issued a resolution which lacks any economic backing or reasonable arguments can profit from it. We think that deputies of the Peoples Assembly elected by the population, i.e. peoples servants as we used to say in the old days, will weigh all the pros and cons and will really serve the people.

The Karachayevo-Cherkessian branch of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO expresses its deep concern in view of the Resolution No 280 of the Government of the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia On establishing of the republican state-financed entity Publishing House Karachayevo-Cherkessia which will obviously lead to infringement of the freedom of speech.

Chairman of the Karachayevo-Cherkessian branch YABLOKO

See also:

Freedom of Speech and Media Law in Russia

Statement of the Karachayevo-Cherkessian branch of the YABLOKO party

September 11, 2009