4 Июля 2015 года

Glasnost defence foundation digest No. 715

29 June 2015

The next digest edition will be released after the GDF staffers return from their summer vacations


Mass Media Defence Centre in Voronezh challenges its designation as foreign agent

By Roman Zholud, GDF correspondent in Central Federal District

In two parallel lawsuits in Voronezh, the local Mass Media Defence Centre (MMDC) is challenging its “foreign agent” designation.

Hearings of the first case started on 22 June, with the MMDC protesting the 300,000-rouble fine levied on it by a magistrate court in March for failure to voluntarily register with the Justice Ministry as a non-profit organisation performing foreign agent functions. The first hearing, though, did not last long – it was postponed because of the absence of Yelena Pershakova, a Public Verdict Group lawyer representing the media centre’s interests.

The second case, in which the MMDC is challenging the Justice Ministry’s decision to put it on the list of foreign agents, started to be heard on 23 June. To additionally prove that the centre does not engage in politics, the MMDC representatives presented expert opinions by political writers and linguists, since only experts could help resolve this problem in the absence in Russian law of a clear definition of what “political activity” actually means, as MMDC head Galina Arapova noted. Justice Ministry representatives, for their part, protested against the court’s acceptance of those expert opinions, arguing that their agency was “itself authorised under the law to decide whether or not an NGO is involved in politics”. Yet the judge added the opinions to the case files. Regarding the plaintiffs’ other request – to examine also the files of the administrative fine case – he said he would consider it during the next hearing, due 9 July.

Pre-election debates disrupted in Kostroma

By Dmitry Florin, GDF correspondent in Central Federal District

As Otkrytaya Rossiya correspondent Aleksandra Ageyeva was shooting in Kostroma on 21 June a video of oppositionist Ilya Yashin urging citizens to take part in the upcoming primaries, a plain-clothes man approached Ageyeva and demanded that she switch her camera off. Judging by his manner of talking, she figured he was a law enforcement official, although he did not present any ID, the reporter told the GDF.

Later in the day, Ageyeva went to make a video of political debates held in one of Kostroma’s cafés. She said the place was full of plain-clothes policemen, who were video-recording the proceedings.

The debates were suddenly deafened by construction workers who started loudly drilling the road outside the café with pavement breakers, although it was already after 7 p.m. Politicians and journalists asked the workers to pause, at least for a while, since the noise made videographers’ work impossible. The workers said they had “orders to carry out”.

As a result, speakers’ voices in most video reports later shown on TV were barely audible. When the debates were over, the road repairs were instantly stopped.

Court in Tomsk leaves blogger Vadim Tyumentsev under arrest for another month

By Georgy Borodyansky, GDF correspondent in Siberian Federal District

The Kirovsky district court in Tomsk has extended for one more month the arrest of critical blogger Vadim Tyumentsev, who faces the charges of “public calls for acts of extremism” and “instigation of hatred or enmity”. He was taken into custody in late April, and before that, he had spent more than two months without the right to leave town. Evidently, the investigators “did not have the time” to thoroughly study the two 3-minute videos he had posted in a social network – one about a potential action of protest against “the outrageous behaviour of fixed-route taxi drivers”, the other urging the authorities to “expel Donetsk and Lugansk refugees from the region”.

As reported in the previous digest, during his stay in a pre-trial detention centre, Tyumentsev has twice been locked into an isolation ward – on 26 May for 10 days “for non-fulfilment of his work duties” (although many chat forum commentators in Tomsk have noted that a person in pre-trial detention, whose guilt has not yet been proven in court, bears no such duties under the law), and later, for 15 days “for refusing to change into prison clothes”. As rights activist Anton Ivanov, who represents the detainee’s interests, explained in Tyumentsev’s blog in the VKontakte social network, his client refused to change because it was very cold in the isolation ward, while the prison clothes were too thin to keep him warm (see digest 713-714).

The original term of his arrest expired on 28 June, so the court, upholding a motion by investigators from the FSB and Investigative Committee, ruled to keep Tyumentsev under arrest for yet another month, until 28 July. The court sitting was held behind closed doors, Ivanov noted, adding that his client had filed a complaint with Russia’s Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, describing the “insanitary conditions in which inmates are kept in the pre-trial detention centre, the poor quality of medical services and food, and the unlawful behaviour of the centre’s administration”.

Birobijan mayor’s appeal against district court decision turned down

By Vladimir Dymov, GDF correspondent in Far Eastern Federal District

An appellate panel of the Jewish Autonomous Region Court has turned down an appeal filed by former Birobijan Mayor Andrei Parkhomenko and left the first-instance court’s decision on his claim against journalists unchanged.

It all began with the sale of the municipal cinema Rodina (Motherland). When they learned about the dubious deal a year ago, local journalists Yelena Golub and Sergei Buryndin, supplied important details and questioned the lawfulness of municipal property managers’ action in a Gazeta na Dom article entitled “They Sold Our Motherland”. The mayor of Birobijan lodged a legal claim in defence of his honour, dignity and business reputation against Gazeta’s chief editor, Buryndin, as well as reporter Golub and the media holdings Media-Press and DalMediaGroup, demanding a disclaimer and more than 1 million roubles in moral damages.

The way the claimant looked at it, the article contained a number of “provocative” statements and was “sharply biting and derogatory” in style, hinting at his proneness to corruption, which might lead to his conviction. The Birobijansky district court rejected the mayoral claim (see digest 666).

Now that the higher-standing judicial authority has upheld the court’s ruling, the dispute with the journalists is deemed finally settled. In the view of linguistic experts, the disputed text did not contain any insulting statements and, as established by the appellate panellists, it only featured comments on issues of public interest that should therefore be seen as evaluative judgments, rather than assertions of facts. At the same time, it was based on factual information and amounted to a “bona fide comment on events of everybody’s interest in the way the authorities use and dispose of municipal property; [the article] aimed to draw public and independent agencies’ attention to those events” and did not mean to deliberately harm the claimant’s honour or dignity. The author was free to choose the form in which she would present the material. Thus the first-instance court was right in passing the kind of decision it actually passed, rejecting the mayor’s claim in full, the panel decided.

It may as well be added here that the deal covered by the journalists caught the eye of investigative agencies which officially charged Parkhomenko in April with abusing his official position. A court of law recently warranted his continued stay under arrest.

Local newspaper in Krasnodar Region enjoys great public support

By Galina Tashmatova, GDF correspondent in Southern Federal District

The newspaper Gorny Vestnik (Mountain Herald) is issued in the Apsheron district of the Krasnodar Region only from time to time and in only 999 copies – because of funding shortages. Its editor, publisher and distributor – journalist Galina Simkina – is a woman with an acute sense of justice. As a rule, a fresh issue is released in the wake of some injustice done to somebody, causing the public to actively discuss the incident at dinner tables. All the four newspaper pages of A3 format are usually devoted to a single topic, and each new issue is handed on from person to person, Xeroxed and debated over in that remote mountainous district, far away from Krasnodar, as the topic of the week or month. This “small press” niche cannot be filled by satellite TV dishes or multipage federal newspapers which, by the way, have been losing viewers and subscribers by the score in view of the growing economic difficulties. Meanwhile, public interest in the local news remains as high as ever.

In the heat of an economic dispute at the Lago-Naki mountain resort in the Apsheron district during the winter holidays, a local entrepreneur smashed with a crowbar a pumping station that supplied water to several guest houses and swimming pools. Hundreds of holidaymakers with kids, who had bought their alpine skiing vouchers long before the New Year, were left without water, and the authorities had to urgently evacuate them from the mountains. That “war of entrepreneurs” was covered not only by the tiny bulletin Gorny Vestnik, but also by the federal newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Yet the businessman who destroyed the pumping station with his own hands chose to lodge a ruinous – 1 million-rouble – claim in defence of his honour and dignity only against the smaller newspaper, although the reports in the two publications were much alike.

Apsheron district residents watched the court proceedings with anxiety, supported editor Simkina and her bulletin, and were even ready to club together to pay the penalty if the case were lost. To everybody’s relief, the Apsheronsky district court a few days ago rejected the businessman’s claim in full. To mark the victory, readers suggested renaming their favourite newspaper: replacing the word “gorny” with “gordy” [Russ. “proud, dignified”].

Public support mattered at lot in winning the lawsuit, Galina Simkina said in an interview for the GDF. “Of course, the judges pass their decisions based, in the first place, on facts and evidence. In my case, although the article’s content was absolutely true to fact, I somehow wasn’t sure at first that the victory would be mine: we were in very different ‘weight classes’ with the plaintiff. But when people started writing letters of support for my newspaper, I grew more optimistic. The claimant will no doubt challenge the ruling, but with the kind of support I enjoy, I am sure I’ll be able to defend both my newspaper and my right to freedom of expression.”

Public official in Stavropol Region ignores court ruling

By Olga Vassilyeva, GDF correspondent in North Caucasian Federal District

For two years running, Tatyana Panfilova, an official at the Office of the Presidential Representative (PRO) in the North Caucasian Federal District, pressed the Stavropol-based newspaper Otkrytaya Gazeta with legal claims, and now she refuses to cover the judicial costs.

Three years ago, Otkrytaya published a story, “Get Out of Here, Psycho!”, about a retiree who had received from the PRO an insulting reply to his complaint; judging by the signature, Panfilova was the reply’s author. Yet she denied having ever written anything of the kind, and lodged a claim in defence of honour and dignity against the newspaper. She did not attend a single court sitting, and her lawyers stubbornly objected to having graphology experts study the document in order to identify the person who had sent the elderly activist the scoffing reply. Judge Svetlana Kochetkova of the Oktyabrsky district court passed a decision saying the signature was not Panfilova’s, but rejected all the other eleven items of the statement of claim, in which the plaintiff asked to declare the publication “libellous and smearing”. Unwilling to leave it at that, Panfilova started thinking up a plan how to punish the journalists for criticism.

Regarding this sole item in the claim that was granted, she made Otkrytaya publish as many as three disclaimers, which many say is an absolutely unprecedented coercive measure. Usually, judicial costs are covered by the conflicting parties proportionately to the number of claim items satisfied. The newspaper decided to sue, and won: Panfilova was required to pay Otkrytaya 35,000 roubles to reimburse the judicial costs it had incurred (see digest 612).

The relevant decision was passed in March. The lady official has not taken any action ever since, although the bailiffs’ office is next to the PRO headquarters. The journalists then decided to hand the writ of execution to her personally, and made a trip to Pyatigorsk for the purpose, but Panfilova refused to meet with them.

Under the law, a court decision shall be executed within five days’ time. Now the writ of execution should be sent from the bailiffs’ office to the PRO, for the latter’s accounting office to withhold money from the revengeful official’s salary until the debt is paid in full.


Freedom-of-expression statistics for January-May 2015

Journalists sentenced to imprisonment or restricted freedom – 3 (Musagali Duambekov, public advocate, Astana; Tatyana Shevtsova-Valova, blogger, Almaty; Saken Baikenov, blogger, Astana)

Attacks on media workers – 4 (Pavel Mikheyev, Liter newspaper, Almaty; Alisher Akhmetov, Tengrinews agency, Almaty; Madina Alimkhanova, KazTAG news agency, Almaty; Vladimir Zobenko, Diapazon newspaper, Aktobe)

Threats against journalists and media – 4 (Marina Nizovkina and Yevgeny Sergiyenko, KTK TV channel, South Kazakhstan Region; Kira Shcherbakova, Temirtauskiy Rabochiy newspaper, Temirtau; Kino.kz website administration, Almaty)

Unlawful detention of media workers – 7 (Ayan Sharipbayev, ADAMDAR media company, Almaty; Guljan Yergaliyeva and Miras Nurmukhametov, ADAM Bol magazine, Almaty; Dilaram Arkin, journalist, Almaty; Rozlana Taukina, rights defender, Almaty; Kuanysh Nurjanov, Ne Khabar newspaper, Aktau; Yuri Geist and Vladimir Zobenko, Diapazon newspaper, Aktobe)

Media suspension or closure – 5 (ADAM Bol magazine, Almaty; Asia-Tsentr TV channel, Karaganda; SoundCloud.com news website; Aruana TV company, Karaganda; Gazeta 17 newspaper, Karaganda)

Unlawful blocking of/ restriction of access to websites - 9

Obstruction of journalists’ lawful professional work – 11

Criminal charges against journalists and media – 17

Refusals to provide publicly significant information – 78

For the full text, see www.adilsoz.kz

[Adil Soz media freedom watchdog report, 26 June]


Antifascist editor in Udmurtia labelled “fascist”

Timofei Klabukov, a public activist and chief editor of the Izhevsk-based web newspaper Strizh, has been held liable “for promoting Nazism”.

Administrative proceedings were started against him after he posted on his Facebook page a few photo pictures of public actions that are held from time to time by foreign-based ultra-rightist politicians notorious for their respect for the Third Reich. The people on the photos were holding banners and wearing clothes with Nazi symbols. Some of the politicians taking part in these kinds of actions were invited to the Russian Conservative Forum, held in St. Petersburg on 22 March and sponsored by the People’s House – a group under the aegis of the Rodina (Motherland) party and its informal leader, Russia’s Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin. Klabukov posted the photos of pro-fascist activists with a brief caption reading, “That’s what we’ve come down to: Rodina let Nazis into Leningrad!”

Yet officials at the counter-extremism department of the Udmurt Republic’s Ministry of the Interior interpreted those posts differently. Police Captain Gumerov of Unit E (for combating extremism) saw them as a public demonstration of Nazi paraphernalia, which conclusion he reported to his direct superior on 15 May, asking his authorisation for carrying out a check-up and registering its results with the operative department. On the same day, the captain, sitting in his office, examined the “scene of the crime” – Klabukov’s Facebook page – and made a protocol of the findings, asking two young eyewitnesses, one of them a villager from the Alnashsky district, to sign it. Journalists later called those “witnesses” to ask if they had actually watched the protocol being made, but the men preferred to keep silent.

On 18 May Klabukov was summoned to the police for questioning, in the course of which Capt. Gumerov asked him if he knew that “Forza Nuova is based on extreme nationalism and the heritage of Italian fascism”. The whole thing resulted in another protocol, produced by 9 June – significantly later than the law-established deadline. Klabukov was again summoned to the Oktyabrsky district police department to witness its making by Unit E officers. Police Major Larissa Ignatyeva, a senior inspector with the Izhevsk Police Department, was writing down what Gumerov was dictating to her; Klabukov heard her uttering casually that she knew “little or nothing at all about this internet”.

Udmurtia’s First Deputy Minister of Inter-ethnic Policy Pavel Orlov was invited as an expert in Nazi paraphernalia. He was asked to study – completely out of context – separate screenshots from Klabukov’s photo albums automatically compiled in Facebook.

In his expert conclusion of 22 May, Orlov wrote that the images under review displayed Nazi symbols used by the National Socialist Workers’ Party in Germany, the Fascist Party in Italy, and by other state and military structures which were declared criminal by the International Tribunal in Nuremberg. Specifically, the displayed items included a Celtic cross, symbols of the Italian rightist radical group Forza Nuova, a right-side swastika, fascia, saluting gestures, and Nazi Germany’s national emblem and flag.

Based on that conclusion, Federal Judge Denis Kochetkov of the Industrialny district court of Izhevsk passed on 23 June a convictive sentence in respect of Klabukov. The trial lasted for five hours and was equally difficult for all the participants. Major Ignatyeva, the senior inspector, could not remember a single date and refused to answer any questions from the defence on the grounds that “the case files contain all the information you may want”. Captain Gumerov, who had “consulted" her in the presence of eyewitnesses, spent all those hours sitting in the corridor and anxiously awaiting a court decision.

The judge clearly intended to round out the case on that particular day, 23 June, so he dismissed all motions from the defence, including its request not to consider the case in the absence of the accused.

“On the following day, the period of limitation for Klabukov’s administrative liability was to expire, so the judge did his best to finish the hearing there and then,” defence lawyer Veronica Fyodorova told the GDF. “He kept dismissing all the motions and recusations I came up with – to adjourn the hearing (in view of my client’s absence); to summon eyewitnesses; to request information on web postings from the owners of the domain; to request letters of reference from the defendant’s employer and neighbours; to check whether he had any previous convictions on administrative charges (which is important when deciding on the measure of punishment), and so on. I think no clear proofs of guilt were presented. To me, the case looked flabby.”

Also, the judge gave her only 40 minutes to read the case files, did not let her finish with the presentation of additional evidence, dismissed two motions to recuse the judge, and withdrew to the retiring room without holding pleadings, Fyodorova said. “During the break, the judge told me he was ‘pressed for time’ and clearly indicated his desire to pass a decision that day, which showed he was anything but impartial…”

The judge emerged from the retiring room at 6:45 p.m. and announced that Timofei Klabukov was guilty of violating the ban on promoting and demonstrating Nazi symbols. He sentenced the accused to the minimum amount of fine – 1,000 roubles.

Posting Nazi symbols in social network costs Karelia resident 1,000 roubles

By Anatoly Tsygankov, GDF correspondent in North-Western Federal District

The Prionezhsky district court in Karelia has convicted a social network user, 31, of posting Nazi symbols on his web page, and sentenced him to 1,000 roubles in fine. The judge upheld the prosecution’s view that by acting as he did, the accused violated Administrative Code Article 20.3.1 and the provisions of Federal Law “On commemorating the Soviet people’s victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”.

Regional FSB officials were guided by similar considerations when asking the city court of Petrozavodsk to hold the newspaper Karelskaya Guberniya liable for illustrating one of its publications with a photo picture of tin soldiers in Nazi uniform dating back to World War II. They saw the illustration as an attempt to “promote or publicly demonstrate Nazi paraphernalia or symbols”, falling under the above-mentioned administrative code article. Yet the judge turned down their arguments, finding neither “promotion” nor “demonstration” in the picture; she closed the case in view of no elements of crime in the newspaper’s actions. It is not clear, though, how the prosecution will react; the first-instance court’s decision may be challenged before the Supreme Court of Karelia.

The vagueness of legal norms regulating the handling of images featuring Nazi symbols makes the outcome of these kinds of cases unpredictable. While Roskomnadzor [federal service overseeing the media and public communications] has issued internal instructions saying that public demonstration of Nazi symbols without the purpose of propagandizing them does not constitute an offence involving extremist intent, the Administrative Code (Article 20.3) and the WWII Victory law, as well as the Criminal Code, allow for a broad interpretation of any facts of Nazi symbol demonstration, thereby driving individuals – and historians – into an impasse.

Rostov Region Election Committee pays Russia’s highest salaries to “puppet” reporters

By Anna Lebedeva, GDF correspondent in Southern Federal District

While President Putin has been saying in his addresses to media forums that “society is generally interested in developing the independent media segment” and that “we need to work out a system of support that would embrace all”, authorities in the provinces have been quietly dividing funds among the media outlets under their full (or nearly full) control.

The Election Committee in the Rostov Region has posted on a federal website an ad inviting bids for an open tender for the publication of the youth magazine Vash Vybor. The 2 million roubles the best bidder will receive seems a trifle compared to the huge sums the regional administration and Legislative Assembly pay for their self-promotion (that is, to the media signing praises to them).

There is one important detail, though: the 2-million-rouble remuneration is for the journalists who will contribute articles for six issues of a small-format, thin journal for youth. The printing services will be paid for separately, from other sources. By the way, Vladimir Sharov, the author of the best Russian novel to date and winner of the 2014 Russian Booker Award, received for his victory in the nationwide literary competition only 1.5 million roubles. Considering the volume – let alone quality – of his writings, this country’s best contemporary novelist earned much less than the best bidders for the local magazine Vash Vybor are likely to earn.

So who are they, those lucky “best bidders”? The tender was won by OOO Mestnaya Vlast (Local Power), a co-founder of the Realnoye Pravo-Vash Vybor magazine established nearly ten years ago. The other co-founder is the regional Election Committee. The money to be paid in enormous, unheard-of, rewards to contributors will be allocated from the regional budget.

Victoria Makarenko’s recent publication “Hosanna for a Negotiated Price”, posted on Novaya Gazeta’s website, caused broad public repercussions in the region. It had a catchy subtitle: “Rostov Region authorities annually spend hundreds of millions on self-promotion, bribing the media.” The article cited some statistics that are known mostly to professional journalists: since this year began, the regional administration has held 14 contests for the best local media coverage of its performance (i.e., “achievements”), “raffling off” 159 million roubles. These funds will go to the media outlets which, as the article said, “are willing to spend the next 12 months depicting/showing achievements of our government officials, having agreed with them in advance on the content of would-be press reports/TV stories”.

The Legislative Assembly has kept pace with the regional government, having allocated 20 million roubles from the regional budget for showing its “tireless activity” on TV, and nearly 8 million more for covering similar topics in the print media. Those funds have been divided in the form of tenders (only because other forms are prohibited by law). Actually, however, it is a kind of game in which the winner is known beforehand. From year to year, the “tenders” have been won by OOO Izvestia-Yug, while the other bidders have simply been scratched from the race by the jury led by Deputy Speaker Nikolai Belyayev – even when the most likely candidate for the provision of information services, OOO Viraton, claimed 500,000 roubles less than Izvestia-Yug for the pretty simple services awaited of it – to take the money and distribute it among the media outlets which will actually write and publish articles.

If you think of it: what’s half a million roubles to our lawmakers – a mere trifle! Yet, budgetary funding aside, one can feel really sorry for the country whose citizens have not yet learned to differentiate a good informative TV story or a good newspaper article from a prepaid one. But then, who would provide unbiased coverage if really independent media outlets can be counted on the fingers of one hand in the Rostov Region, while the rest have been erased from existence through economic pressure? Meanwhile, the newspapers listed in the regional register (of the media established by government authorities from district to regional level) have received budgetary subsidies reimbursing 70 to 90% of their costs of newsprint, and printing and delivery services.

This kind of “order” has existed, with some variations, for more than 15 years, with no one seeming eager to change it – whatever President Putin might say…

Legislative Assembly in St. Petersburg focuses on media problems

By Roman Zakharov, GDF correspondent in North-Western Federal District

The St. Petersburg parliament on 18 June held open hearings to discuss problems facing the media community and see if it would be realistic to advance a regional initiative that would mitigate the repressive bias in the media regulations passed in the past few years.

It’s actually an old story. More than two years ago, St. Petersburg journalists, together with MPs and human rights defenders, publicly condemned the toughened media regulations, including different really stupid amendments enacted by the federal parliament on orders from the Kremlin (see digest 604-605). Instead of sitting and grumbling, the activists decided to act – consistently and systematically – in order to improve effective legislation through initiatives advanced by the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly.

I won’t make secret of the fact that subsequent meetings of the working group gave little hope to me personally, since my inescapably pessimistic attitude to Russia’s policymaking prevailed. This notwithstanding, an enlarged meeting of the Committee on Education, Culture and Science at the St. Petersburg Assembly on 23 June heard journalists and rights activists, including a GDF representative, openly and frankly pointing to the problem of the Russian media’s clear shift from news coverage to propaganda, and to a worsening of the journalists’ working conditions that will eventually result in restrictions on citizens’ right to be informed. To the credit of MPs, they did take heed of what was said at the meeting! Moreover, thanks to a group of opposition deputies – Marina Shishkina, Maksim Reznik, and Boris Vishnevsky – not only was the wall of silence broken, but a serious discussion of legislative initiatives was kick-started.

The initiatives themselves were prepared with the participation of experts, among them representatives of the Journalists’ Union of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, the Mass Media Defence Centre director Galina Arapova, the Glasnost Defence Foundation, and many others. One should acknowledge the contribution made by St. Petersburg Human Rights Ombudsman Aleksandr Shishlov, who, apart from participating in the drafting of documents, provided support, including organisational, by offering his office as a venue for some meetings.

Just hours before the start of the open hearings, word went round about the city parliament’s approval of the first legislative initiative – on the journalists’ right to file inquiries online, by e-mail. Today, many government officials actually ignore journalistic inquiries, requiring these to be sent by fax (while disregarding oral inquiries altogether).

The hearings themselves, which took place in the Mariinsky Palace, the seat of the St. Petersburg parliament, are also an achievement. They became the first such event held in the past few years not only at regional, but also at federal level. This format implies that deputies at the relevant level know about a problem, acknowledge its importance, and expect experts and the professional community to come up with their own assessments to enable decision-making. The open hearings in St. Petersburg highlighted the difficult situation, pointed to the new media freedom challenges coming from the federal legislators, while also giving some hope for a “legitimate” breakthrough from a situation where each new law would worsen the position of media and journalists, cause them to be more “prudent”, and thus lead to self-censorship and political and economic pressure on the media.

This hope is explicitly expressed in the summary of the hearings, whose participants voiced their support for the St. Petersburg parliament’s legislative initiatives and called on federal MPs to pay heed to the sensible and sober-minded arguments of their St. Petersburg colleagues, decrease the degree of aggression and change the repressive nature of recently-adopted media regulations.

Well, it’s the State Duma’s turn to make a move. In the meantime, St. Petersburg MPs, along with journalists and human rights defenders, intend to continue working within the existing legal framework to defend journalists’ rights and freedoms.

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.

We acknowledge the assistance of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

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.


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