OSCE representative condemns the growing violence against journalists in Russia


OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today condemned the growing violence against journalists in Russia following an attack on BBC crew in Astrakhan, southern Russia. OSCE official web-site writes about this. 

“What we are witnessing is a clear sign of harassment of free media in Russia,” Mijatović said. “Attacks against members of the media are utterly and totally unacceptable and I call on the Russian authorities to ensure journalists’ safety and to carry out a transparent and swift investigation of this and other recent attacks”.

According to reports, on 16 September two members of a BBC TV crew were confronted and attacked by at least three individuals in Astrakhan while reporting on a story on killed Russian servicemen. The attackers smashed the crew’s camera and beat the camera operator. Later, while the journalists were being questioned at the local police station, somebody broke into their car and erased video material and computer memory from the journalists’ equipment. Both journalists have now left Astrakhan.

The incident in Astrakhan is the latest in a spate of recent attacks against journalists who investigated issues related to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and which Mijatović raised with the authorities.

Mijatović also expressed concern about other recent cases of violence against journalists and raised them in a letter with the authorities. On 10 September a crew of the ‘Pretsedent’ television programme, which contributes to Ren-TV and Region TV, was attacked by two individuals while working in Novosibirsk. The attackers smashed the crew’s camera and beat up the camera operator. The next day, the same perpetrators reportedly threatened and attempted to attack a crew of the State Television and Radio Company Novosibirsk at the same location.

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