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Ekho Moskvi, August 4, 2004

The Russian Union of Journalists attacks Russian government's record on media freedom

The Secretary-General of the Russian Union of Journalists, Igor Yakovenko, does not believe that the state wants to guarantee the media's economic independence.

He said this when commenting on Ekho Moskvi radio on the information on three laws to guarantee the media's economic independence, which are being drafted at Russia's State Duma.

Yakovenko said that to guarantee the media's independence, the "state must radically change its policy", as " the federal authorities are posing the main threat to the media's independence".

Over the past four years the federal authorities have pursued a purposeful policy aiming to "fully nationalize" media outlets and "oust journalism from them", he said.

He added that television currently reflected just three components: feature films, propaganda and business shows. "The most widely distributed newspapers are choosing approximately the same model to survive", he said.

"Journalists are thereby being turned into the main enemies of the people," said Yakovenko. "Over the past four years various officials, starting from the top, have constantly said that journalists are to blame for everything." Journalists recently have been accused of provoking the banking crisis and of wrongly covering the situation concerning the replacement of social benefits with cash, said Yakovenko.

If the state continues this sort of policy toward the media, then, "at some point in time, one will be able to read about media independence only in alternative textbooks on history," noted Yakovenko.

Based on the BBC monitoring


See also:

Freedom of Speech and Media Law in Russia

Ekho Moskvi, August 4, 2004

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