Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch have jointly called on
the six presidential candidates of the International Olympics Committee to
ensure that future host countries of the Olympic Games fully comply with human
rights principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter, including press freedom and
Last week, I was preparing to write a column about the
anniversary of Paul
Klebnikov's murder. The American editor of Forbes-Russia was murdered contract-style nine years ago in Moscow
at the age of 41. He had investigated connections between Russian business and
organized crime, as well as ethnic and political tensions in Chechnya. Despite
numerous official promises to solve the July 9, 2004, killing, Klebnikov's
murderers--as well whoever ordered him killed-- are still nowhere near the dock.
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.
Edward Snowden's global travels have highlighted the chasm
between the political posturing and actual practices of governments when it
comes to free expression. As is well known now, the former government
contractor's leaks exposed
phone and digital surveillance being conducted by the U.S. National Security
Agency, practices at odds with the Obama administration's positioning of the United
States as a global leader on Internet
freedom and its calls for technology companies to resist foreign
demands for censorship and surveillance.
We received an unusual email last week. Michaella Ortega
wrote to tell us that Marlon Recamata, who confessed to shooting her father,
Philippine journalist Gerardo Ortega, in
2011, had been convicted and sentenced to life for the crime.
In advance of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to
Moscow this week, Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the
Committee to Protect Journalists sent him a letter to call
attention to the ongoing crackdown
in Russia on non-governmental organizations--including those that support
press freedom and freedom of expression.
In the year since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian
presidency, independent media, civil society groups, and opposition activists
have been under
attack. But as he has done in the past, Putin recently
asserted that his government is not engaged in political repression.
Mikhail Beketov's recovery, in photos by CPJ and news agencies.
Beketov, the former crusading editor of the independent newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda in the Moscow suburb,
Khimki, died this afternoon at a Moscow hospital. A choking
episode during lunch led to heart failure, Elena Kostyuchenko, Beketov's friend
and a reporter for the newspaper Novaya
Gazeta, told CPJ by phone from Moscow. Really, though, Beketov's life was
taken by the thugs who
smashed his skull, broke his legs, pulverized his hands, and left him to die in
the freezing cold nearly five years ago. He defied them, surviving that November 2008 night and valiantly rallying in the ensuing years, but the once robust and fearless editor was
never the same.
Recent statements by Vladimir Putin and
Russian Member of Parliament (MP) Aleksey Mitrofanov, as well as raids on human
rights organizations, signal that the threat hanging over civil society and
freedom of expression in Russia has become reality. Since Putin returned to
presidential office in May, the Kremlin has passed a series
of restrictive laws and provisions, but until recently authorities had not
acted upon many of them.