Russia6 May 2008
Reporters Without Borders makes recommendations to Dmitry Medvedev, on the eve of his investiture as president
Reporters Without Borders has written to Dmitry Medvedev, on the eve of his investiture as Russian president, voicing its “concerns about recent developments in terms of the right to exercise the profession of journalist in Russia”.
The worldwide press freedom organisation reminded him that it sent him a letter on 20 February 2008 when he was a presidential candidate “with four proposals for aiding the development of press freedom in the country.” It pointed out that “not only have these four issues not been resolved but the situation is in danger of worsening still further”.
Reporters Without Borders particularly drew his attention to draft amendments to the law on extremism and the law on the media. “If they are adopted in their current form, they will only further accentuate the already heavy pressure on the media. It will amount to a real encouragement to self-censorship and militate against the responsibility of journalists”.
It added that “self-regulation has shown the greatest efficiency in assuring the quality of media content. In addition, the power of ordering the closure of a media or sentencing journalists to prison sentences for defamation is widely disproportionate and counter-productive. They never contribute to an improvement in the press, but on the contrary prevent public debate on matters of general interest”.
Reporters Without Borders also repeated its concerns about “the conditions in which our colleagues are required to work” and recalled that “some journalists, such as Anna Politkovskaya and Paul Klebnikov, paid for their journalistic work with their lives, without those responsible for the killings being identified and put on trial”.
The organisation ended by stressing that “this situation feeds doubts about the willingness of the Russian authorities to clear up these murders” and that Dmitry Medvedev’s taking office was “the occasion to send a strong message to the international community, indicating that Russia is determined to improve its record in terms of respect for freedoms”.
Open letter to Dmitry Medvedev