Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reporters Without Borders Survey

Reporters Without Borders has published its annual survey, together with a new list of predators. On Belarus and Russia, the Europe report notes that
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko worked to shut down his country’s few independent newspapers as the March 2006 presidential election approached, crippling them with huge fines and blocking printing and distribution. Several key papers in the capital, such BG Delovaya Gazeta, were doomed. Journalists, especially those from the Polish minority, who reported on opposition demonstrations were tried and imprisoned.

Violence against journalists in Russia was frequent and impunity prevailed in a country where news is still closely controlled by the government. Two journalists were killed and a third escaped being murdered in 2005. More than a year after the death of editor Paul Khlebnikov of the Russian edition of the US magazine Forbes, the authorities closed their investigation and said Chechen independence militant Kozh-Akhmed Nukhayev had ordered the killing. The government steadily took control of all the country’s TV stations and stepped up pressure on the few independent papers, seriously threatening news diversity. Chechnya remained a void for news and journalists could not go there freely.

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