New York, November 25, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision today to veto restrictive amendments to the Law on the Struggle with Terrorism and the Law on Mass Media that were passed by Parliament earlier this month.
Putin announced his decision during a meeting with media chiefs. He also asked both houses of the Russian Parliament to form a commission to redraft the amendments.
The vague amendments would have curtailed the press’s ability to report in times of crisis, specifically on military actions in Chechnya, and also would have broadened the Media Ministry’s authority to censor or close media outlets. CPJ had asked President Putin to veto the amendments in a letter on November 14, 2002.
Last week, representatives of Russia’s state and independent media, as well as press freedom organizations, asked President Putin to veto the amendments and pledged to develop a code of conduct for covering crises.