FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7 June 1996
(212) 465-1004 x101
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CPJ Reports 13 Journalists Assassinated in Russia since 1994
Media Suffer Most Violent Attacks in Decades Under YeltsinNew York--Regardless of who wins the Russian elections, the press loses. Thats the central conclusion of a briefing paper on press freedom in Russia issued today by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press freedom advocacy organization.
Under either a Zyuganov administration or a re-elected Yeltsin government, journalists in Russia will have to battle to preserve the fragile press freedoms they have gained over the course of the decade, said William A. Orme, Jr., CPJs executive director. The press has suffered its most violent attacks in decades during Yeltsins years in office. Of the 13 assassinations of Russian journalists that CPJ has documented since 1994, the Yeltsin government has not seriously investigated, much less prosecuted, a single case.
CPJs 16-page report documents many of these murders as well as the beatings, threats, and legal harassment Russian journalists have endured during Yeltsins rule.
CPJ reports that journalists at greatest risk for attack in Russia today are those covering the war in Chechnya, investigating organized crime, reporting on corruption in the military or criticizing government officials. Among the reports grimmest findings:
- At least eight journalists have been murdered in mafia-style contract killings in Moscow and the provinces.
- At least five journalists have been assassinated while covering the war in Chechnya, three of them this year alone.
- Four journalists reporting from Chechnya are missing and presumed dead.
- Several journalists have suffered attempts on their lives or received anonymous death threats.
CPJs briefing paper also addresses the efforts by the Yeltsin campaign to influence media coverage, including applying outright pressure on editors in the provinces, and offers background on the economic hardships of the Russian media that foster their continued dependence on the government.
The Committee to Protect Journalists documents and responds to press freedom abuses around the world. From its headquarters in New York, CPJ works to get detained journalists out of jail, directs international campaigns of protest against repressive governments and provides practical safety information to reporters assigned to dangerous areas. CPJ is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization financed wholly by donations from individuals, private foundations and news organizations.
Copies of CPJs Briefing on Press Freedom in Russia Before the Presidential Elections can be obtained by calling CPJ at 212-465-1004, or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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