CPJ condemns slaying of Russian reporter Anna Politkovskaya
October 7, 2006 12:00 PM ET
New York, October 7, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist renowned for her critical coverage of the Chechen conflict. Politkovskaya was found shot to death in the elevator of her apartment building in Moscow, The Associated Press reported.
The Interfax news agency, citing police, said Politkovskaya had been shot and that a pistol and four bullets were found in the elevator. Prosecutors planned to open a murder investigation, a spokeswoman for the Moscow prosecutor’s office told AP.
Politkovskaya, special correspondent for the independent Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was well known for her investigative reports on human rights abuses by the Russian military in Chechnya. In seven years covering the second Chechen war, Politkovskaya’s reporting repeatedly drew the wrath of Russian authorities. She was threatened, jailed, forced into exile, and poisoned during her career, CPJ research shows.
Igor Korolkov, a colleague, told the Regnum news Web site that Politkovskaya had been reporting on alleged torture in Chechnya for a coming story.
“Anna Politkovskaya was uncompromising in her pursuit of the human story behind the ongoing war in Chechnya. In risking everything to tell this story, she became one the leading press freedom figures of our generation,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Her death is a great loss to journalism, to her country, and to the service of truth. Russia is one of the most murderous places in the world for journalists, and it has a long history of impunity in these killings. This is the time for Russian authorities to reverse this years-long assault on independent journalism by bringing Anna Politkovskaya’s killers to justice.”
CPJ had named Politkovskaya one of the world’s top press freedom figures of the past 25 years in the next edition of its magazine, due out next month. In an interview for that profile, Politkovskaya noted the government’s obstruction and harassment of journalists trying to cover the Chechen conflict and pointed to the deadly 2004 hostage crisis in the North Ossetian town of Beslan. “There is so much more to write about Beslan,” she told CPJ, “but it gets more and more difficult when all the journalists who write are forced to leave.”
Politkovskaya was poisoned on her way to cover Beslan crisis. After drinking tea on a flight to the region, she became seriously ill and was hospitalized—but the toxin was never identified because the medical staff was instructed to destroy her blood tests.
Russia is the third deadliest country in the world for journalists over the past 15 years, behind only the conflict-ridden countries of Iraq and Algeria. A new CPJ report found that 42 journalists had been killed in Russia since 1992, many of them slain in contract-style executions and the vast majority unsolved by Russian authorities. The report is available at http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2006/deadly_news/deadly_news.html.
The contract-style slaying of American journalist Paul Klebnikov is among the many cases that are unsolved. Two men were tried this year and acquitted. Klebnikov, editor of Forbes Russia, was gunned down on a Moscow street in July 2004.
Politkovskaya has been threatened and attacked numerous times in retaliation for her work. In February 2001, CPJ research shows, security agents detained her in the Vedeno district in Chechnya, accusing her of entering Chechnya without accreditation. She was kept in a pit for three days without food or water, while a military officer threatened to shoot her. Seven months later, she received death threats from a military officer accused of crimes against civilians. She was forced to flee to Vienna after the officer sent an e-mail to Novaya Gazeta promising that he would seek revenge.
When Politkovskaya covertly visited Chechnya in 2002 to investigate new allegations of human rights abuses, CPJ research shows, security officers arrested her, kept her overnight at a military base, and threatened her. In October of that year, Politkovskaya served as a mediator between armed Chechen fighters and Russian forces during a hostage standoff in a central Moscow theater. Two days into the crisis, with the Kremlin restricting media coverage, Russian forces gassed the theater and 129 hostages died. Politkovskaya delivered some of the most compelling accounts of the tragedy.
Kiev, February 1, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Russian authorities today to return all confiscated property to independent journalist Pavel Nikulin, and stop harassing him in retaliation for his reporting. The Federal Security Service (FSB) yesterday morning raided Nikulin's Moscow apartment, and brought the journalist to agency...
Russian authorities arrest Sochi blogger on extortion charges
January 26, 2018 2:27 PM ET
New York, January 26, 2018--Russian authorities should immediately drop the charges against journalist Aleksandr Valov and release him from custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities on January 19 detained Valov, the editor-in-chief and founder of a local news site BlogSochi, and, two days later, charged him...
Russia votes on bill to require journalists to register as foreign agents
January 16, 2018 3:54 PM ET
Kiev, January 16, 2018--Russia's State Duma should drop a bill that would require some bloggers and journalists to register as foreign agents, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The Duma on January 12 voted overwhelmingly to approve the bill, the state news agency RIA Novosti reported....
Russia's RT network says it complied with US order to register as foreign agent
November 13, 2017 12:03 PM ET
New York, November 13, 2017--The Russian government-funded international news network RT, formerly Russia Today, said that it complied today with a U.S. Department of Justice order for it to register as a foreign agent. Ordering foreign outlets to register could set a troubling precedent, the Committee to Protect Journalists...