The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) has condemned a brutal attack on a leading Russian journalist
and has urged the Russian authorities to act quickly to find the attackers and
bring them to justice.
Moscow journalist Oleg Kashin, an
investigative journalist with Kommersant,
one of Russia's best-known national dailies, was set upon on the night of 5-6
November. His attackers, waiting outside his apartment block, beat him so
severely that his jaw was broken and both legs fractured. After emergency
hospital treatment doctors put him in an induced coma for the next few days.
"Regrettably, this is not an isolated
incident," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Our research shows that
over 100 journalists in Russia have been targeted in exactly the same way since
The IFJ says that there is a pattern
to these warning attacks - often the use of iron bars by the attackers. In very
few cases have investigations, for the most part led by the police, led to any
prosecutions. The killings of high-profile journalists such as Anna
Politkovskaya in 2006 remain unsolved and suggest a lack of political will to
respond to violence against reporters.
However, in this latest incident the IFJ
welcomes the decision by the authorities to treat the attack seriously. The
assault on Kashin has been classified as attempted murder and the inquiry is
being led by Moscow city investigative committee, a newly-independent body.
"This is good news, but it is only a
start," said White. "If the high level of impunity for such assaults is to be
tackled, the investigation must be sustained and far more determined than the
failed previous efforts to establish who is behind this sustained campaign of
violence against journalists."
The IFJ is also joining Kommersant's chief editor Mikhail
Mikhailin and the Russian Union of Journalists in calling for the authorities
to recognise that there is a link between the attack and the investigations conducted
by Kashin and his reporting over recent months.
"This is the key element in the
inquiry and only in that way can the people who ordered the attack and those
who carried it out be identified and brought to justice," said White.
The IFJ has also called for the
international community to call on Russia to act more effectively to find those
responsible for attacks on journalists. "So far the response of many
governments, including the European Union, appears feeble and suggests that
they are holding back because of strategic self-interest to do with protecting
access to Russian energy supplies," said White. "If this is so, it's a shameful
betrayal of fundamental rights they claim to defend at home and
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32
2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries