9 Апреля 2013 года

Glasnost defence foundation digest No. 610

8 April 2013



Head of district administration in Perm Region replaces newspaper’s acting chief editor

By Olga Loskutova, chairwoman, Perm Region branch of Russian Journalists’ Union

Pavel Salnikov, head of Yelovsky municipal district administration, Perm Region, has replaced Irina Pastukhova as acting editor-in-chief of the district newspaper Iskra Prikamya. When the regional branch of the Russian Journalists’ Union asked him to explain the reasons for the editor’s dismissal, Salnikov answered, “I so decided.”

Pastukhova’s colleagues, for their part, see the district leader’s decision as a crackdown on freedom of expression. They sent Salnikov a message of protest reading as follows:


To: P. I. Salnikov, head of Yelovsky municipal district administration

Dear Mr Salnikov:

The Perm Region Journalists’ Union sees your decision to dismiss Iskra Prikamya Acting Chief Editor Irina Pastukhova as a hasty one: such decisions need to have legally and ethically impeccable motivation behind them, which in your case is clearly lacking. Issued in the wake of A. Ustinov’s critical publication “Deposing an Official: Backroom Technology”, your dismissal order gives reasons to believe Pastukhova’s administrative punishment is a direct consequence of the independent editorial policy she used to pursue.

Proceeding from the principle of freedom of expression, guaranteed by the RF Constitution, we believe the newspaper Iskra Prikamya acted in full compliance with the law – first offering its pages for Yelovsky district MPs to express their views, then for alternative opinions to be made public.

In line with the constitution, “everyone in Russia is guaranteed freedom of thought and expression, freedom of mass information… Everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, impart, produce and circulate information by any legally allowed means.” And it is you, Mr Salnikov, as a representative of executive power, who must guarantee compliance with the constitutional provisions in the Yelovsky district.

We insist on your cancelling your decision of 28 March 2013 as one signalling your wrongful use of the power functions delegated to you. By punishing a journalist for criticism, you do not demonstrate any argument justifying your decision; rather, you demonstrate the efficiency of the administrative leverage at your disposal.

We hereby inform you that a copy of this message has been sent to the Territories Department of the Perm Region Governor’s Administration.


Omsk-based blogger challenges court ruling labelling his essay “extremist”

By Georgy Borodyansky, GDF correspondent in Siberian Federal District

Viktor Korb, a prominent civil activist and blogger from Omsk, has challenged what he sees as an “absurd” court ruling labelling one of his essays, as well as articles by historian Yuri Afanasyev and economist Vladislav Inozemtsev, “extremist”.

He filed his complaint upon learning, by a pure chance, about the court decision a whole three months after its passing. As we have reported (see Digest 604-605), Korb’s essay “Contract vs. Norm” and the two above-named authors’ articles were banned as extremist after prominent oppositionist Boris Stomakhin had reprinted them, without notifying the authors, in his newspaper Radikalnaya Politika, which, too, is on the list of outlawed publications.

Such “trials over texts” (without their authors being aware) have been held behind closed doors all across this country, with flagrant violations of existing procedural norms – openness, glasnost, adversarial nature of the judicial process, equality of the parties, etc. – occurring more often than not, Korb wrote on the Omsk Politichesky website. This creates prerequisites for unfair court rulings, he wrote, citing as an additional reason Article 13 of the federal Law on Countering Extremism, which prevents full-scale trials from taking place in cases like that and often reduces “the fight against extremism” to an absurdity.

In a bid to put it back on track of common sense and fair justice, Korb appealed to the Central district court in Omsk earlier in April against its decision of 28 November 2012, of which he was never notified, and urged the court to cancel it as one rudely contravening the Code of Civil Procedure. Also, he asked the court chairman to renew the timeframe for his procedural protection and to help him get the full details about the “extremist essay” case.

Renowned Omsk-based defence lawyer Konstantin Isupov will assist Korb in defending his rights in court.

Prominent journalist in Rostov Region charged with three criminal offences

By Anna Lebedeva, GDF correspondent in Southern Federal District

Sergei Reznik, a well-known Rostov journalist and blogger, has twice complained to law enforcement about unidentified persons threatening him over the phone. Instead, the regional Investigative Department has brought criminal charges against Reznik himself.

First, it accused the journalist of hiring his two acquaintances – allegedly with a view to “attracting public and media attention and raising his professional rating” – to call him on the mobile phone to “threaten” him. The charges brought against him under Criminal Code Article 306 (“A priori false reporting”), and the entire case, are based only on the testimony of those “two acquaintances” – people with whom he actually has been in conflict, Reznik told the GDF.

Also, he faces bribery charges under Article 204 of the Criminal Code, for giving a car service station technician 2,000 roubles in exchange for a document certifying that his car was in good working order and safe to drive.

Finally, Reznik has been charged with publicly insulting “a government servant on duty” (Article 319). According to an Investigative Department official, the journalist “repeatedly posted blog statements defaming Ms Solovyova, chairwoman of the Rostov Court of Arbitration”. Justice Ministry forensic experts concluded that the language he used in his article “Black Sabbath in Rostov” and other publications was “abusive and at odds with the communicative and ethical norms of public speech”.

Sergei Reznik is still reading the case files; the date of the first court hearing is yet to be appointed. The Glasnost Defence Foundation will closely follow the judicial proceedings in Rostov.



Media-related conflicts registered by GDF Monitoring Service on RF territory in March 2013

Attacks on journalists – 5 (Svetlana Kuritsyna, Luch Sveta TV show anchor, NTV, Moscow; Boris Stomakhin, editor, Radikalnaya Politika newspaper, Moscow; Sergei Brovko, photographer, Istochnik Novostei newspaper, Kirov; Abdulla Ekayev, chief editor, Tverskoy Reporter newspaper, Tver; Dmitry Renansky, freelance journalist, St. Petersburg).

Instances of censorship – 2 (Berega Klyazmy inter-regional newspaper, censored in Nizhny Novgorod Region; Kabardino-Balkarian Radio Co., Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria).

Criminal charges against journalists and media – 2 (Yelena Polyakova, journalist, Serp in Molot newspaper, Moscow Region; Viktor Kravtsov, chief editor, and Nadezhda Kuzmina, director, Volzhsky.ru news website, Volgograd Region).

Illegal sacking of editor or journalist – 4 (Yelena Polyakova, journalist, Serp in Molot newspaper, Moscow Region; Vladimir Samanyuk, anchor, Vesti-Karelia TV show, Karelia; Svetlana Khvostantseva, chief editor, Otechestvo newspaper, Kirov Region; Irina Pastukhova, acting chief editor, Iskra Prikamya newspaper, Perm Region).

Detention by police, FSB, etc. – 10 (Vlad Tupikin, freelance journalist, Moscow; Viktor Kravtsov, chief editor, and Nadezhda Kuzmina, director, Volzhsky.ru news website, Volgograd Region; Dmitry Aleshkovsky, freelance journalist, St. Petersburg; Sergei Gubanov, freelance journalist, St. Petersburg; Alexander Sotnik and Dmitry Melekhin, journalists, Politvestnik TV channel, Maria Reshetnikova, correspondent, Kasparov.ru news website – all three of Moscow; film crew of Vesti-Dezhurnaya Chast TV show – detained in Kemerovo Region; Natalya Filonova, editor, Vsemu Naperekor newspaper, Trans-Baikal Region; Vladimir Gorban, staff member, Svobodnaya Rech newspaper, Moscow Region).

Refusals to provide information (including bans on use of audio recorders and video/photo cameras; refusals to provide accreditation; restrictions on admittance to official events held by government bodies, industrial enterprises or state institutions) – 24.

Threats against journalists and media – 13 (Svetlana Kuritsyna, Luch Sveta TV show anchor, NTV, Moscow; Valery Donskoy, chief editor, Electron FM independent radio station, Krasnodar Region - twice; Tatyana Guselnikova, reporter, Novaya Gazeta Kubani newspaper, Krasnodar; Aider Muzhdabayev, deputy chief editor, and Georgy Yans, journalist, both of Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, Moscow; office of Svobodniye Novosti news agency, Yeleva Ivanova, chief editor, and staffers – all of Saratov; Maksim Sobeski, author, Osobaya Bukva web newspaper, Moscow - twice; Pavel Gusev, chief editor, Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, Moscow; Sergei Leonov, Ura.ru correspondent, Chelyabinsk; Abdulla Ekayev, chief editor, Tverskoy Reporter newspaper, Tver).

Disruption of radio or TV broadcasts – 2 (Mayak radio station, Nizhny Novgorod Region; TiviCom TV Company, Ulan-Ude).

Closure of media – 2 (Russkaya Zhizn web magazine, Moscow; Mestnoye Vremya newspaper, Republic of Karelia).

Withdrawal, purchase or seizure of print run – 2 (Tulskaya Pravda newspaper, Tula Region; Vmeste newspaper, Vologda).

Interference with Internet publications – 3 (Zaks.ru website; Sova analytical think tank’s web server; Zhukovskiye Vesti independent news portal, Moscow Region).

Confiscation of/ damage to photo, video or audio apparatus and computers – 3 (computer of Yelelna Polyakova, journalist, Serp I Molot newspaper, Moscow Region; office computer of Serp I Molot newspaper, Moscow Region; photo camera of Alexei Ovchinnikov, journalist, Vzglyad-Info news agency, Saratov).

Other forms of pressure/ infringement of journalists’ rights – 25.


Last week, the Glasnost Defence Foundation was referred to at least 10 times in the Internet, including at:

Novaya Gazeta: Fighting tooth and nail

Ekho Moskvy Radio: Can freedom of expression be abused?

Sovershenno Sekretno: Parents of many children vs. Gazeta.ru journalist

Znak.com: Russia’s “most inconvenient” newspaper celebrates jubilee: Congratulations – from Medvedev to Akunin



Sverdlovsk Region Journalist Union’s Grand Jury invites media to promote dialogue

By Vladimir Golubev, GDF correspondent in Urals Federal District

The closer the opening of the 10th Congress of the Russian Journalists’ Union (RJU), the higher passions are flying within the media community. [Moskovsky Komsomolets Chief Editor] Pavel Gusev’s recent – well-justified! – conflict with MP Isayev has now moved into the background to draw renewed interest in four-year-old revelations about TV anchor Vlad Listyev’s alleged killers (whose names do not matter much, I believe)…

In this situation of increased attention to the observance of moral and ethical norms in the professional community, the stand adopted by the RJU Grand Jury looks decisive, particularly in areas where similar regional organisations operate: colleagues know all too well about the methods and forms of media “anti-work” practised there, including “black PR”, boot-licking, etc.

It is important that the regional Grand Juries involve respected local journalists, whose opinion – at least as a recommendation, and sometimes as a “verdict” – is subject to discussion but never to questioning.

In the region of Sverdlovsk, the Grand Jury had a pretty high status in 2002-2004, when a series of hearings were held to condemn coercive subscriptions to municipal media, “black PR” attacks on businessmen and other negative practices, resulting in media problems partly solved and partly converted to equally unpleasant personal stand-offs between media head-managers.

Over time, conflicts among grassroots RJU cells have become routine in the Middle Urals – for example, in Zarechny, Talitsa, Krasnoturyinsk and elsewhere – with journalists turning a cold shoulder to one another or, still worse, starting to defame colleagues from rival media or the policies they pursue. Fortunately, this seems to be a “downtrend”, considering that at the regional JU conference in 2002, even delegates of the region’s leading media – Uralsky Rabochiy and Oblastnaya Gazeta – sat in the opposite corners of the conference room, not saying a word to each other… Clearly, that was a consequence of the rivalry between their newspapers’ owners or head-managers, with rank-and-file staffers being used as hostages. Today, this negative trend has affected many local newspapers, but hopefully, it will not be long before our professional association regains self-respect. On the other hand, the newly-elected Sverdlovsk Grand Jury Chairman, Boris Lozovsky, the respected dean of Urals State University’s School of Journalism, said he already has at least three complaints about different on-going conflicts within the media community. Is it time to open fire yet? Or shall we try to talk things over first?


2013 Andrei Sakharov Competition “Journalism as an Act of Conscience” continues

The Jury of the 2013 Andrei Sakharov Competition “Journalism as an Act of Conscience” invites journalists to submit their works for this year’s contest before November 1.

The Andrei Sakharov Award “For Journalism as an Act of Conscience” is conferred on journalists for publications reflecting the authors’ active life stands consistently translated into their highly professional work, and for defending the values Dr. Andrei D. Sakharov used to defend during his lifetime.

The materials submitted for the competition should have been published between October 15, 2012 and October 15, 2013 in Russian print and online media. Candidates for the award may be nominated by editorial boards and individual Russian citizens.

All materials must be submitted in print or electronic format (on diskettes or CDs, or as e-mail messages sent to fond@gdf.ru or boris@gdf.ru). Print versions shall be mailed to: Glasnost Defence Foundation, 4, Zubovsky Boulevard, Office 438, 119992, Moscow, Russia, with a note: “Andrei Sakharov Competition ‘Journalism as an Act of Conscience’.”

For further details about the Andrei Sakharov Competition “Journalism as an Act of Conscience”, click on www.gdf.ru/lenta/item/1/1056

Contact phone: (+7 495) 637-4947.


This digest was prepared by the Glasnost Defence Foundation in Moscow. The digest has been issued once a week, on Mondays, since August 11, 2000.

Currently it is distributed by e-mail to 1,600 subscribers in and outside Russia.

Editorial board

  • Editor-in-chief, Alexei Simonov
  • Boris Timoshenko, Head of Monitring Service;
  • Svetlana Zemskova, GDF Lawyer;
  • Vsevolod Shelkhovskoy, translator.

We welcome the promotion of our news items and articles but if you make use of any information from this digest or other GDF materials please acknowledge the source.


Glasnost Defence Foundation, Room 432, 4 Zubovsky Boulevard,
119992 Moscow, Russia.

Telephone/fax: +7 (495) 637-4947 and +7 (495) 637-4420
e-mail: boris@gdf.ru , or fond@gdf.ru

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ФЗГ продолжает бороться за свое честное имя. Пройдя все необходимые инстанции отечественного правосудия, Фонд обратился в Европейский суд. Для обращения понадобилось вкратце оценить все, что Фонд сделал за 25 лет своего существования. Вот что у нас получилось:
Полезная деятельность Фонда защиты гласности за 25 лет его жизни