Medvedev Must Protect Journalists

We’ve covered the case of the persecuted Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov in many articles on this blog, and it’s good to see his name featured in a New York Times editorial today.

Mr. Levy described how Mikhail Beketov dared to write about how local officials in the Moscow suburb of Khimki had demolished a Soviet war monument to widen a road and the local government’s plans to plow a major highway through a forest. Mr. Beketov was savagely beaten and left bleeding in the snow outside his house.

His attack left him brain damaged and confined to a wheelchair. Eighteen months later, the authorities have barely begun to investigate.

The only recourse for Mr. Beketov and others is to tell their terriblestories to the world. President Obama made that a little easier thisweek when hesigned the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, requiring theState Department to identify countries that allow or participate inattacks on journalists.

The Kremlin must act. If President Dmitri Medvedev really wants tocombat corruption, he can start by pursuing and prosecuting those whoare trying to silence Russia’s independent journalists.