Dear President Obama: In advance of your July 6-8 summit in Moscow with President Dmitry Medvedev, we'd like to draw your attention to the pressing issue of impunity in violent crimes against journalists in Russia. We ask you to place this issue on the agenda for your talks. Seventeen journalists have been murdered for their work or have died under suspicious circumstances since 2000. In only one case have the killers been convicted. In every case, the masterminds remain unpunished.
New York, September 12, 2007—Moscow prosecutors closed the criminal investigation into the March death of Kommersant defense correspondent Ivan Safronov because of “an absence of foul play,” the business daily reported today.
The Central Administrative District prosecutor concluded that Safronov took his own life “for subjective, private reasons,” Kommersant said. The prosecutor’s office disclosed few details as to the reason for its conclusion. The office informed the paper of the finding on Tuesday, Kommersant Deputy Editor Ilya Bulavinov told CPJ. Bulavinov expressed skepticism about the conclusion, saying investigators did not properly explore a potential link between Safronov’s sudden death and his sensitive reporting.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.