Dear President Bush:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned about the dramatic decline in press freedom under Russian President Vladimir Putin's tenure, including a recent surge in new media restrictions spearheaded by the Kremlin and its allies.
Ongoing impunity for the murder of journalists, a series of proposed legal restrictions on the press, continued persecution of journalists reporting on the war in and around Chechnya, and informal censorship of regional television stations have strengthened the Kremlin's Soviet-style control over the independent media.
New York, July 29, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) calls on Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure that government officials in the southern republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya end their campaign of harassment against the independent weekly Chechenskoye Obshchestvo (Chechen Society), which is based in Ingushetia's capital, Nazran.
According to Chechenskoye Obshchestvo Editor Timur Aliev, officials from the Interior Ministry's Organized Crime Directorate called him into their office in Nazran yesterday morning, July 28, and questioned him about the newspaper's recent reporting on human rights abuses committed by Chechnya's pro-Moscow authorities, as well as by Russian soldiers and security forces operating in Chechnya.