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Why Aren’t Russia’s Journalists Protected?

Maria Yulikova of the Committee to Protect Journalists has a new article about Russia running on the Index on Censorship website. Yulikova writes of the latest Freedom House report which ranked Russia 164 out of 195 countries in terms of press freedom and the safety of journalists, and also takes note of a new project led by civil society and media activist Elena Zelinskaya to create a “Index of Press Freedom” to assess the conditions for local media in Russia. The state response to criticism over press freedom has predictably been to reject and deny all such claims – but incredibly one Duma member went so far as to say that media outlets themselves are to blame for their lack of freedom:

Boris Reznik, the deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for Informational Policies, told the local media that he was sceptical ‘such ratings’. ‘It is not clear what criteria are used for these reports,’ Reznik said. ‘At the same time, we should recognize that we are not totally successful in press freedom development. But the question is whether the journalists themselves need freedom. Today many media companies refuse to be free voluntarily. It is easier for them to be obedient.’