Press freedom groups warn President Putin of “threatening and dangerous” trends

1. The issuing under your signature of the new “Doctrine on Information Security of the Russian Federation,” a Cold War-style text whose broad, ambiguous language can be used to justify severe repression of press freedom.

2. Your own statement — despite what you yourself have characterized as governmental mishandling of communication with the public over the loss of the submarine Kursk and its crew — that the reduced state of readiness of the armed forces is the fault of major private news media owners.

3. Continued strong official pressure on Vladimir Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky to divest themselves of their news media ownership in favor of Russian state control.

4. Creation of a top-secret budget line for an unstated amount to subsidize news media, without the possibility of public or parliamentary scrutiny of how such unaccounted funds would be used. This is in contradiction with all principles of governmental transparency.

5. The dismissal of Russian Public Television (ORT) anchorman Sergei Dorenko and the ending of his popular news analysis program.

6. The raid August 29 by masked secret policemen without a search warrant on the offices in Moscow of the Glasnost Foundation.

7. The detention and beating this month by Russian troops in Chechnya of Associated Press reporter Ruslan Musayev.

8. Continued attempts by regional governors, most notably in Vladivostok with the arrest of Irina Grebnova, editor of the newspaper “Arsenievskie Vesti,” to prevent critical reporting on local governments and officials.

. The disturbing lack of results in police investigations of the recent killings of journalist Igor Dominikov of “Novaya Gazeta” in Moscow and of Sergei Novikov, editor of “Vesna” in Smolensk.

10. The action just this week of special security troops (OMON) in preventing NTV’s news program “Itogi” from interviewing Ruslan Gunteliev, the pro-Russian Chechen leader. These forces made the camera crew lie down on the ground, then covered the crew’s lenses to stop filming. Another NTV camera recorded the behavior of the troops from a distance, and the TV audience got a live demonstration of how news from Chechnya is censored.