Reporters without Borders prevented from going to Moscow for third anniversary of Anna Politkovskayas murder
By not giving them visas, the Russian authorities prevented two Reporters Without Borders representatives, including secretary-general Jean-François Julliard, from travelling to Moscow to hold a news conference there today, on the eve of the third anniversary of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya’s murder.
The press freedom organisation is nonetheless going ahead with the news conference and the screening of a film about Politkovskaya in Moscow, both of which will be attended by her children, Ilya and Vera, and by Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitri Muratov. “It was extremely important for us to be in Russia alongside Anna Politkovskaya’s colleagues and family on the third anniversary of her murder,” Julliard said. “We wanted to be there all the more this year, as it has been a terrible one for journalists and human rights activists with the surge of violence in the North Caucasus, a region that Anna knew particularly well.
“We are shocked by this decision, especially as we have always acted openly with the Russian authorities. They decided to prevent us from expressing our solidarity with Russian journalists and human rights activists. Moscow does not want us to address the Russians directly. But we will not give up.”
Julliard added: “We take this opportunity to reaffirm our support for Russian journalists and free speech activists and to express our admiration for their courage and perseverance, as well as our determination to remain at their side.”
Entitled “Third anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s death: the murderers of journalists still go unpunished,” the news conference went ahead as planned at the Independent Press Centre at 12:30 p.m., Moscow time. A new version of the documentary “Letter to Anna” will be screened at 6 p.m. this evening thanks to the support of its director, Eric Bergkraut.Reporters Without Borders had a poster entitled “Russian School of Journalism” specially produced for the anniversary in Russian, French and English. It is based on a cartoon by Danziger that was published at the time of Politkovskaya’s murder.
A total of 22 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in Russia since March 2000. Russia was ranked 141st out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Listen to one of the last interviews with Anna Politkovskaya (Radio France International)
Read our latest report on fact-finding visit to Russian Caucasus :