World Journalists Call for End of Impunity in Russia on Anniversary of Politkovskaya Killing
As journalists, their organisations, and human rights and press freedom groups are preparing to commemorate the second anniversary of the killing of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, the International Federation of Journalists today urged all its affiliates worldwide to join the call for renewed efforts to end impunity in Russia.
Politkovskayas writings from the frontline of conflicts on Russias borders, in particular on human rights abuses by Russian forces in Chechnya, captured the imagination of readers the world over.
She was shot in the entrance to her block of flats on October 7, 2006. Her brutal murder sent shockwaves around the world of journalism and sparked protests and demonstrations across the globe to show sympathy for her family and demand justice.
IFJ President Jim Boumelha is asking IFJ affiliates, representing 600,000 journalists worldwide, to send solidarity greetings to the demonstrators assembling in Pushkin Square on October 7th to mark the anniversary of Politkovskayas death.
"Journalists around the world will spend the day reflecting on Annas shocking death which has come to symbolise the hundreds of journalists who are targeted and killed each year for their work," Boumelha said. "Too often many killings go uninvestigated and unpunished. On the rare occasions when the people who carried out the murders are found guilty those who gave the orders have remained beyond the law."
"While it is still too early to pass judgment on Politkovskayas investigation, the IFJ urges the Russian authorities to provide the investigators with all the support required," he added.
Russia has one of the highest death rates among journalists of any country in the world with 230 recorded deaths since 1993. In the past two years, seven other Russian journalists have died: Konstantin Brovko, Magomet Yevloev, Gadzhi Abashilov, Telman Alishaev, Vyacheslav Ifanov, Ivan Safronov and Leonid Etkind.
The IFJ has been working with its affiliate in Russia, the Russian Union of Journalists, to lobby the government to improve journalist safety and prosecute those attacking media.
"We cannot forget the scores of Russian colleagues who were killed with impunity, including Anna Politkovskaya," said Boumelha. "These attacks have taken a grim toll on our courageous Russian colleagues and on press freedom in Russia. Press freedom cannot exist when journalists are forced to work in such dangerous conditions."