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Russian Journalist Granted Asylum in Finland

In earlier blog postings on this site, Grigory Pasko had been following the story of Lena Maglevannay, a journalist from Volgograd who was chased into exile by government pressure after publishing investigative pieces on the failings and abuses in local prisons.  Today’s big news is that in fact the government of Finland has decided to formally grant asylum to Maglevannay, concluding that she had become a target for politically motivated harassment and attacks.

One interesting thing about Pasko’s article on Maglevannay from June 2009, is that he quotes Mikhail Fedotov, who at the time served as secretary general of the Russian Union of Journalists.  Of course, Fedotov now holds the esteemed position as the top human rights figure on the presidential council, filling the position vacated by the resignation of Ella Pamfilova.

With regard to Maglevannay, Fedotov commented to Pasko, “Russian courts today don’t take into consideration the fact that journalists oftentimes are deprived of access to official sources of information. They are compelled to rely on their own, unofficial, oftentimes anonymous, sources.  The burden upon journalists in Russia these days is extremely onerous, and I can not say that in the past year their situation has become any better.”