CPJ urges Putin to end ‘era of impunity’ in journalist murders

Moscow, July 8, 2005—A delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists today called on President Vladimir Putin to end a deplorable era of impunity for the murder of journalists during his five-year tenure.

“We are calling on President Putin to ensure that the Prosecutor-General’s Office makes greater progress in solving these brutal murders,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper, who led the four-member delegation to Moscow. “These murders have sown fear and self-censorship among independent media. Russia’s democratic development and international image will remain tarnished until the police and prosecutors do more to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these killings.”

The CPJ delegation traveled to Moscow for a conference Thursday with relatives and colleagues of journalists murdered in Russia since 2000; Russian press freedom advocates and lawyers also participated. Twelve journalists have been slain in contract-style killings in Russia during this time, but no one has been brought to justice in any of the cases.

Conference participants discussed the Russian government’s failure to solve these cases; how they might cooperate in the future; and how they can encourage the government to make progress in these cases. Participants issued a statement calling for greater progress in these murder cases. Read the text of the statement.

The CPJ delegation included Cooper; CPJ board member Jane Kramer of The New Yorker; CPJ Senior Europe Program Coordinator Alex Lupis; and CPJ Research Associate Nina Ognianova.