Rights chief urges Russia to finish crackdown as journalist detentions attain all-time excessive | EUROtoday

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Volker Türk stated he was involved by the rising variety of journalists charged, convicted and jailed for his or her unbiased reporting, in what seems to be an intensification of a crackdown on dissenting voices.

He described the continual assaults on free speech and the criminalization of unbiased journalism in Russia as “very troubling”.

“The intensification of the crackdown on journalists’ independent work must immediately cease and the right to inform – a key component of the right to freedom of expression – needs to be upheld,” he stated.

Criminal expenses, prolonged sentences

The variety of imprisoned journalists in Russia has reached an all-time excessive for the reason that begin of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the High Commissioner’s Office, OHCHR, reported.

At least 30 journalists are at the moment detained below quite a lot of prison expenses that embody terrorism, extremism, disseminating knowingly false details about the armed forces, spying, treason, extortion, infringing upon folks’s rights, violating the provisions of the regulation on international brokers, inciting mass disturbances, and unlawful possession of explosives or medication.

Twelve are serving sentences starting from five-and-a-half to 22 years behind bars. They embody Vladimir Kara-Murza, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post newspaper within the United States, who was on Monday awarded the celebrated Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

Controlling the narrative

Since March, not less than seven journalists have confronted administrative or prison expenses, notably for criticism of Russia’s actions in Ukraine or for alleged hyperlinks to the late opposition politician Alexey Navalny, and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which was labelled as ‘extremist’ in 2021.

“The Russian authorities appear to be attempting to further strengthen control of the narrative, both around domestic issues and the conduct of hostilities in Ukraine,” Mr. Türk stated.

“As a result, people in Russia have increasingly restricted access to non-State information and viewpointswhich hampers their ability to benefit from diverse sources and make fully informed decisions on matters of vital public interest.”

Release jailed journalists

The UN rights chief additionally expressed concern over the frequent use of the broad legislative framework to fight terrorism and extremism, urging the authorities to amend the laws.

“Journalists should be able to work in a safe environment without fear of reprisals – in line with Russia’s international human rights obligations,” he stated. “I call on the authorities to immediately drop charges against journalists detained solely for doing their jobsand to release them.”