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Putin and Kadirov are Predators of Press Freedom

Submitted by on Monday, 3 May 2010.    1,786 views No Comment
Putin and Kadirov are Predators of Press Freedom

Today marks as “World Press Freedom Day”. Due this occasion “Reporters Without Borders” (RSF) named the world’s 40 worst ”predators of the press freedom” that includes Vladimir Putin and his puppet Ramzan Kadirov.

According to RSF, many of the names in the list were already on last year’s list. But this year they have some new names like Ramzan Kadirov, the bandit boss of Chechnya.

Reporters Without Borders says, they met Ramzan Kadirov, head of pro-Russian regime in Chechnya, the list’s other new entrant, in March 2009.

“Often referred to as ‘Putin’s guard dog,’ Ramzan Kadirov shares the Russian prime minister’s taste for crude language and strong action. [Pro-Russian] President and undisputed chief of Chechnya in the North Caucasus since April 2007, he has restored a semblance of calm after the devastation of two wars. A high price has been paid for this superficial stability, the introduction of a lawless regime. Anyone questioning the policies of this ‘Hero of Russia’ (an award he received from Putin in 2004) is exposed to deadly reprisals. Two fierce critics of the handling of the ‘Chechen issue,’ reporter Anna Politkovskaya and human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, were both gunned down – Politkovskaya in Moscow in October 2006 and Estemirova in Chechnya in July 2009. Both these murders had Kadirov’s prints on them, as have many others that have taken place under the regime of terror he has imposed in Chechnya. When human rights activists blamed him for their deaths, Kadirov was dismissive: ‘That’s bullshit, that’s just gossip,’ he said.

The Chechen media [in Chechnya] toe the line. Those that survive in this hostile environment know the rules of the game, the first of which is to never criticise the policies of Kadirov, whose photo is displayed everywhere. Kadirov said this about terrorism: ‘My method is simple. Those who disrupt the people’s peace must be dealt with harshly, cruelly even.’ And on the press, he added: ‘The press must be in the service of the Chechen people’s unity.’ In practice, journalists interpret this as meaning they must praise his every action and the people’s devotion to him.

To ensure absolute loyalty, Kadirov uses not only fear but also the money flowing in abundance from the Kremlin to Grozny. New newspapers have been created with [pro-Russian] Chechen government funding to create the impression that the republic’s media are flourishing and vibrant. But they all just repeat the same refrain ad infinitum. As for foreign journalists, it goes without saying that Kadirov accuses them of distorting reality and not reporting what is really happening in Chechnya,” said RSF.

Turning to Putin who was added to the list in 2006, the group accused him of being responsible for increased state control over the country’s media, deteriorating working conditions for independent journalists and human rights activists and promoting “a climate of pumped-up national pride” that encourages the persecution of dissidents and fosters impunity. Five journalists were murdered in the country in 2009, bringing the overall death count since 2000 to 22, it said.

Reporter Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) is a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. Their list “Predators of the Press Freedom”, compiled annually since 2000, contains politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations who “cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.”

The entire list available at RSF’s website.

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