New York, March 13, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the blocking today of independent and pro-opposition news websites in Russia, including Ezhednevny Zhurnal, Grani, Kasparov, and the website of the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy. The popular blog of anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny and the personal blogging platform LiveJournal were also blocked.
Late last month, as thousands of international journalists prepared to descend on Sochi to cover the Winter Olympics, the Kremlin resorted to using a controversy to silence a critical television station. A direct move to shut down the station would have been too blunt--particularly at a time when all eyes were on Russia--so authorities resorted to exploiting a producer's blunder, blowing it out of proportion, and pushing a third party to do their bidding. This is what happened.
The scope of the National Security Agency's digital surveillance raises doubts about the U.S. commitment to freedom of expression online. By Joel Simon
New York, July 18, 2013--Russian authorities must free on appeal the anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist Aleksei Navalny, who was convicted on politicized charges of embezzlement today and sentenced to five years in prison, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. Navalny was jailed immediately after the verdict was announced, according to news reports.
The trial of Aleksei Navalny is coming to an end at the Leninsky District Court in the river city of Kirov, 500 miles northeast of Moscow. Navalny, a charismatic 37-year-old lawyer, was propelled to fame through his activities as an anti-corruption blogger, activist, and a leader of Russia's opposition movement. Most recently, he pledged to compete in future presidential elections, and sought registration to run in the Moscow mayoral election. Both his activities as a blogger and his budding presidential ambitions have earned him the attention of Russian authorities eager to eliminate any opposition that would shake the political status quo.
Record-high temperatures swept most of Europe this summer, but in Moscow the weather, much like the political climate, was chilly. I spent three months in the capital at the invitation of the Russian Union of Journalists, and witnessed how Vladimir Putin's third term in office kicked off with the passage of restrictive laws, harassment and prosecution of dissent, the jailing of an irreverent punk-rock band, and death threats by a top-ranking official against a prominent editor.