Vienna, 8 October 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed deep concern regarding recent incidents and the overall media atmosphere in Russia.
Yesterday, 7 October, was the anniversary of the brutal murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Despite some progress having been made in the case, the eleven years that have passed since her death have not brought any closure. In 2014, five court sentences were handed to individuals proven to be involved in the murder of Politkovskaya, but the actual identities of the individuals who ordered it have yet to be established.
On 29 September, the Russian media regulatory agency Roskomnadzor summoned representatives of the company Turner Informatsionnye Programmy I Stil Zhizni, which broadcasts CNN International in Russia. They were issued an official warning over alleged “violations of media law” according to the regulator. The Roskomnadzor statement says that “the activities of the CNN International television channel revealed violations of the media legislation in Russia, for which administrative liability is provided in accordance with the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation.”
A day prior to this, on 28 September, CNN reported about Russia buying ads on the social network Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign in the USA. Some of the ads were allegedly targeting African Americans and using racial violence and hate speech.
“Recent weeks and months have brought a new level of tension in Russian media, and we call on authorities in the country to begin work on allowing outlets and journalists to function freely and without pressures” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic stated today. “The challenges which media workers face in Russia today cast a shadow on freedom of speech and thought. We urge institutions in the country to help us alleviate some of these concerns by allowing media to function independently and without governmental meddling” Vujovic added.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.