The international Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused Russia of
stepping back into the shadows of censorship and political intolerance after The Guardian's Moscow correspondent Luke Harding was expelled from the country,
apparently in retaliation for writing a story linked to material provided by
the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.
Harding was refused entry at Moscow airport when he returned to the city
yesterday. Immigration officials put him on the next flight back to London and
told him he was barred.
The Guardian says the action comes after the newspaper published reports from
diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, including an article from Harding on
allegations that Russia under the rule of Vladimir Putin had become a "virtual
"This expulsion is a chilling reminder of how easy it is for the current
Russian leadership to slip back into the shadows of censorship of years past,"
said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The action will worry campaigners for
press rights inside Russia and across the globe."
The IFJ has called upon its affiliate in Russia, the Russian Union of
Journalists, to take up Harding's case with the Russian authorities. According
to the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, which is based in the
offices of the Russian Union, Russia has denied entry to or deported more than
40 members of the press.
The IFJ says that this latest incident indicates a hardening of official
attitudes to the press at the highest levels.
"Inside Russia journalists struggle to be free, often having to carry
out their work at great personal risk," said White. "This expulsion shows that
political intolerance of independent journalism is growing. It should be
condemned by all those campaigning for democratic rights in the country and
For more information,
please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 members in 125 countries