OSCE condemns 'worrying trend' of attacks on Russian media

8th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

European security group OSCE Monday condemned the "brutal assault" on Russian journalist Oleg Kashin and the "worrying trend" of violence against media representatives in Russia.

"I am saddened by this brutal assault, which confirms a worrying trend of continuous violence against journalists" in Russia, said Dunja Mijatovic, media freedom representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Mijatovic's comments were addressed in a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and cited in the OSCE statement.

Kashin, a reporter for the business daily Kommersant, was in an induced coma Monday and doctors refused to make any forecasts about his health.

"This wave of violence makes Russian journalists fear for their safety and puts Russia in a bad light as one of the OSCE participating states with the highest number of attacks against journalists," Mijatovic added.

She said she welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's calling on the interior ministry and the prosecutor-general to pay special attention to investigating the assault on Kashin.

In Moscow Monday Medvedev responded further to unprecedented media pressure by vowing to punish those behind the assault -- no matter their potential rank or title -- as a grainy 90-second clip of what appeared to be the beating of Kashin swept through the Russian Internet and was shown on state TV news.

At the same time another journalist was reported to have been beaten up in the Moscow suburbs and a second in the Volga region.

"I call on Russian authorities to finally turn their declarations into real action so that they fulfil one of their most important OSCE media freedom commitments, namely to ensure the safety of journalists," Mijatovic said.

© 2010 AFP

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