Russian media outlets and the Committee to Protect Journalists have called on President Medvedev to deal with unsolved crimes against the media, following an attack on reporter Oleg Kashin this weekend which led to him being placed into an induced coma.
According to a report by AFP, 26 reporters and media outlets, as well as hundreds of others, have signed an open letter demanding protection for journalists’ rights.
“By demanding the protection of reports, what we are talking about is not only our own trade,” the letter said. “One must also protect the rights of our readers. The rights of reporters to fulfill their obligation in a normal fashion and not worry about their lives — this is the right of society to speak and be heard.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists has also called on the government to act. In a statement, CPJ executive director Joel Simon said:
We are outraged by the attack on Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin. While it is important that President Medvedev has called for the perpetrators to be ‘found and punished,’ we also believe that the government itself has considerable responsibility. By failing to prosecute those who have carried out crimes against journalists in the past – including 19 murders committed in the Putin era – the Russian government has created a climate of impunity. Government statements and expressions of sympathy are simply not sufficient. Arrests, prosecutions and convictions are what are urgently needed.