Magazine article Insight on the News

Independent Media Raided in Russia

Magazine article Insight on the News

Independent Media Raided in Russia

Article excerpt

They did not waste much time. In the run-up to last March's shoo-in presidential election in Russia, media professionals and human-rights leaders warned that press freedom could be curtailed if former KGB agent Vladimir Putin were elected president. On May 11, just four days after Putin was sworn in as the country's new head of state, tax investigators and gun-toting police commandos stormed the Moscow offices of Russia's main independent media company.

The raid quickly was denounced by human-rights leaders as a bid to intimidate the media and to silence critics of Putin and of his war to crush separatist rebels in Chechnya. The company that was stormed, Media-MOST, owns the independent NTV television outlet, the Echo of Moscow radio station and the Segodnya newspaper. All have been highly critical of Putin and have been responsible for reports from the front line in Chechnya that have embarrassed the Kremlin.

According to eyewitnesses of the raid, the tax investigators and the police searched through documents and took down the personal details of company workers. …

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