25 February 2-15
Source: HRO.org (info)
“To the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Konovalov,
We ask the Minister to disqualify from holding office and dismiss the officials of the Voronezh administration of the Justice Ministry who drew up the document demanding that the Centre for the Defence of Media Rights and its chair, Galina Arapova, register the organization as a ‘foreign agent’.
The authors of the document, which we have read, demonstrate an aggressive ignorance of how to interpret laws and a lack of legal knowledge of current legislation regarding the media.
During the past twenty years we have seen Galina Arapova offer legal support to journalists and media outlets experiencing difficulties. For the last ten years she has been perhaps the most active and clear-sighted Russian lawyer working in this sphere, which is under constant revision by legislators. She and her co-workers at the Centre have been providing practical help to journalists and the media in more than twenty regions of Russia. They provide free, quality, assistance which has made them a well-known and respected authority in the eyes of both professional journalists and lawyers.
The attempt to pin the yellow star of a foreign agent on Galina Arapova suggests that today’s authorities aim is to deprive journalists of effective assistance and defence. It is perfectly clear that it is an attempt to make any appeal to Galina Arapova’s Centre both illegitimate and improper, that it is an attempt to destroy the authority of the Centre and its leader.
And if the authors of the said document have taken the view that Galina Arapova’s activity as chair of the Public Council attached to the Voronezh region police department, or her membership of the Voronezh City Public Chamber, constitutes political activity then this is quite beyond the bounds of comprehension.
You yourself cannot even imagine the wave of protest that this specimen of bureaucratic stupidity will generate.
President of Glasnost Defence Foundation"
Translated by Mary McAuley
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