Against journalists | The UN calls on Russia to “immediately cease” its attacks

(Geneva) Russia must “immediately stop” its attacks against independent journalists, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights demanded on Tuesday, the day Vladimir Putin is to be inaugurated president for a fifth term.

“The intensification of repression against the work of independent journalists must stop immediately and the right to inform – a key element of the right to freedom of expression – must be respected,” Mr. Türk wrote in a statement.

“The continued attacks on freedom of expression and the criminalization of independent journalism in Russia are very disturbing,” he stressed.

He calls on the authorities to “immediately drop the charges against journalists detained solely for carrying out their work and to release them”.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “at least 30 journalists are currently detained in Russia on various criminal charges.”

“Of the 30 journalists deprived of their liberty, 12 are serving prison sentences ranging from five and a half to 22 years in prison,” he underlines.

Since March, at least seven journalists have been the subject of administrative or criminal charges, notably for criticizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine or for their alleged links with the late opponent Alexeï Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), described as of “extremist” in 2021, add Mr. Türk’s services.

This text is published the same day when Vladimir Putin is to be inaugurated president for a fifth term at the head of Russia, where he enjoys uncontested power in the face of a crushed opposition, in the midst of a push by Russian troops on the Ukrainian front.

Nearly two months after a re-election presented as triumphant by the Kremlin, in the absence of a dissident candidacy, the Russian head of state, aged 71 and in power for almost a quarter of a century, is back at least until ‘in 2030.

Russian authorities appear to be “attempting to further strengthen their control” over the way information is reported, whether on domestic issues or the war in Ukraine.

“As a result, Russian citizens have increasingly restricted access to non-state information and viewpoints, hampering their ability to benefit from diverse sources and make fully informed decisions on vital public issues. », underlined Mr. Türk.

He said he was “also concerned” by the frequent use of a vast set of legislative texts intended to fight “against terrorism and extremism” and asked the authorities to bring it back into compliance with human rights.

“Journalists should be able to work in a safe environment, without fear of reprisals – in line with Russia’s international human rights obligations,” Türk said.


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