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7 June 1996

Cathy Fitzpatrick
(212) 465-1004 x101
Amanda Onion
(212) 465-1004 x120

CPJ Reports 13 Journalists Assassinated in Russia since 1994

Media Suffer Most Violent Attacks in Decades Under Yeltsin

New York--Regardless of who wins the Russian elections, the press loses. That’s the central conclusion of a briefing paper on press freedom in Russia issued today by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press freedom advocacy organization.

“Under either a Zyuganov administration or a re-elected Yeltsin government, journalists in Russia will have to battle to preserve the fragile press freedoms they have gained over the course of the decade,” said William A. Orme, Jr., CPJ’s executive director. “The press has suffered its most violent attacks in decades during Yeltsin’s years in office. Of the 13 assassinations of Russian journalists that CPJ has documented since 1994, the Yeltsin government has not seriously investigated, much less prosecuted, a single case.”

CPJ’s 16-page report documents many of these murders as well as the beatings, threats, and legal harassment Russian journalists have endured during Yeltsin’s rule.

CPJ reports that journalists at greatest risk for attack in Russia today are those covering the war in Chechnya, investigating organized crime, reporting on corruption in the military or criticizing government officials. Among the report’s grimmest findings:

CPJ’s briefing paper also addresses the efforts by the Yeltsin campaign to influence media coverage, including applying outright pressure on editors in the provinces, and offers background on the economic hardships of the Russian media that foster their continued dependence on the government.

The Committee to Protect Journalists documents and responds to press freedom abuses around the world. From its headquarters in New York, CPJ works to get detained journalists out of jail, directs international campaigns of protest against repressive governments and provides practical safety information to reporters assigned to dangerous areas. CPJ is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization financed wholly by donations from individuals, private foundations and news organizations.

Copies of CPJ’s Briefing on Press Freedom in Russia Before the Presidential Elections can be obtained by calling CPJ at 212-465-1004, or sending an e-mail to [email protected]

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