Pressure mounts on Kremlin to solve latest media attack
Russia's top reporters increased pressure on President Dmitry Medvedev Monday to break the cycle of unresolved crimes against the media by solving the latest attack on a leading journalist.
A 90-second clip of what appeared to be the beating of Kommersant business daily reporter Oleg Kashin swept through the Russian Internet and unconventionally dominated the early morning news on state-run television.
The Russian reporters told Medvedev in an open letter -- which appeared on the front page of Kommersant -- that more than a journalist's safety was at issue as these crimes piled up.
"By demanding the protection of reports, what we are talking about is not only our own trade," the letter said. "One must also protect the rights of our readers.
"The rights of reporters to fulfill their obligation in a normal fashion and not worry about their lives -- this is the right of society to speak and be heard."
The Internet video showed two assailants surrounding a man as he approached a gate to a residential building in the night hours and felling him to the ground.
One then held him by the upper body while the other beat him with what television said was a lead pipe.
Kashin, 30, underwent a second operation overnight and his doctors reported his condition as serious but stable. A newspaper representative said late Sunday that the reporter's life was no longer under threat.
The early Saturday incident has become major news in a country that struggles with a poor media freedom record that has been criticized heavily by both the European Union and Washington.
The letter was signed by 26 reporters and editors from media outlets as varied as Moscow Echo radio and the Russian edition of Rolling Stone. Hundreds more have subsequently added their names.
They include such familiar names in Western rights circles as corruption investigator Yulia Latynina and long-time Moscow Echo editor Alexei Venediktov.
Medvedev has responded to the media uproar by putting the investigation under the supervision of the general prosecutor's office.
No leads have been reported in the case and police have so far refused to confirm the authenticity of the footage or whether it has been added to the file.
© 2010 AFP