Office of opposition newspaper destroyed in firebomb attack

first_imgNews Receive email alerts RussiaEurope – Central Asia News RussiaEurope – Central Asia Listed as a “foreign agent”, Russia’s most popular independent website risks disappearing News May 21, 2021 Find out more Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown to go further January 31, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Office of opposition newspaper destroyed in firebomb attackcenter_img RSF_en Follow the news on Russia Organisation Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the arson attack that ravaged the editorial officesof the weekly Vecherny Krasnokamsk in the Perm region in south-west Russia on 28 January.The premises of the newspaper, published by the local branch of the opposition liberal Yablokoparty, were destroyed.“Such a grave incident must be treated with the utmost seriousness, particularly since it couldhave caused deaths and injuries,” the press freedom organization said.“The intimidatory shadow cast by this act is all the greater because of the current pre-electoralclimate and all the political parties taking part must unequivocally condemn it.“We hope closed-circuit television footage will permit the police to conduct a quick andsuccessful investigation.”About 4 a.m. an unidentified man broke a window in the Vecherny Krasnokamsk newsroom andthrew a firebomb inside. The premises were destroyed within minutes. There were no injuriesbut all equipment, files and financial records were destroyed.The editor, Olga Kolokolova, said damage was estimated at 300,000 roubles (about 7,500euros). Kolokolova, who is also the head of the local branch of Yabloko, linked the attack toa series of investigative reports recently published by the newspaper on corruption, whichimplicated the Krasnokamsk mayor’s office.The mayor, Yuri Chechetkin, protested that he had no objection to Vecherny Krasnokamskcontinuing its activities.The political climate is tense in Perm, where a Yabloko parliamentary candidate was beaten upon 29 November.At a national level, the huge demonstrations after the parliamentary election last month havehad repercussions for the traditional media, alternating between restriction and openness as thepresidential election on 4 March approaches.Thanks to the large numbers that took part in demonstrators calling for fair elections in manyRussian towns and cities, the opposition has managed to drive a wedge into the mediablockade it has had to contend with for years.This month, the main commercial television stations (which are in fact attached to the Kremlin)such as NTV and Pervy Kanal have started giving a voice to government opponents at peakviewing times, albeit in a limited and partial manner. In the latest example, on Sunday 29 January, NTV gave the liberal opposition leader Boris Nemtsov a platform to highlight electoralfraud.However, at the same time several critical journalists have been fired or have resigned inprotest against internal pressure.On 13 December, Maxim Kovalsky, editor of the independent magazine Kommersant Vlast,and the head of its parent company, Andrei Galiyev, were dismissed by the owner AlisherUsmanov for a “breach of ethics” by the magazine. At issue was the edition published a day earlier in which a story on electoral fraud wasillustrated with a photo of a spoiled ballot paper with a rude comment about Vladimir Putinscrawled on it. The headline on the weekly’s front page used a play on words linking the nameof Putin’s United Russia party and an expression meaning “ballot-stuffing”.The few concessions made by the authorities towards the media are far short of genuinepolitical openness. On 27 January, the candidacy of Grigory Yavlinsky, the Yablokorepresentative in the presidential election, was ruled invalid by the electoral commission.The independent electoral watchdog organization Golos was told that the power supply to itsMoscow office was to be cut off until 6 March because of “renovation work”. It was about tounveil a new version of its interactive map of electoral violations adapted for the impendingpresidential vote.Russia is ranked 142nd of 179 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedomindex. In September 2009, Reporters Without Borders published a report on the state of pressfreedom in Perm and six other Russian provinces. Two Russian journalists persecuted for investigating police corruption June 2, 2021 Find out more News May 5, 2021 Find out morelast_img

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