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Statement by Memorial on Gazprom and Freedom of the Press

Source: (info), 15/02/12

· Freedom of expression

The Russian authorities have issued calls ‘not to rock the boat’, but they have not themselves acted in line with this precept. Instead of doing what the public has demanded and holding fresh parliamentary elections, the authorities have organized fresh elections to the board of the Echo of Moscow radio station. This step is a much clearer indication of the authorities’ true degree of readiness for democratic change than any promised bills on electoral reform.

Few will have been misled by the words of Putin’s press secretary that the leadership of Gazprom ‘is not acting for political reasons, but for reasons related to business.’ We well remember the ‘disputes between economic actors’ as a result of which all independent television channels were brought under government control.

The current steps by government-controlled Gazprom have the clear intent of reducing the independence of Echo of Moscow, one of a very small number of mass media outlets that stands out against a background of government-controlled propaganda. We are convinced that the authorities will not succeed in intimidating the journalists of Echo of Moscow and we express our solidarity with them.

International Memorial Society

15 February 2012
Rights in Russia,
16 Feb 2012, 23:33