IFJ Welcomes Politkovskaya Arrests But Says More Evidence Needed of Russian Action to Counter Impunity

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today gave a cautious welcome to news that 10 people have been arrested for their involvement in the murder of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

“We are pleased that arrests have been made,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “But like our colleagues in Russia we are anxious for more information. We need to know that not only the hired killers of Anna Politkovskaya are brought to justice, but also those who ordered her assassination.”

The IFJ, which is supporting an investigation of unexplained killings of journalists in Russia over the past 15 years, says it will watch developments carefully. “This is a welcome first step, but there is a long way to go before we can be confident that justice will be delivered,” said White.

Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika announced today that 10 people have been held in connection with the murder of Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter of international renown, on October 7th last year. He gave no further details.

The killing brought international attention to the danger that journalists face in Russia. Politkovskaya was shot outside her Moscow apartment, one of four killings of media staff in Russia in 2006. Around 255 journalists and media staff have been killed in Russia since 1993. Many of these deaths have been explained, but since President Vladimir Putin came to power around 20 killings of journalists have taken place and none of them have been satisfactorily resolved.

At its World Congress in Moscow in May, the IFJ unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an immediate end to manipulation of journalism by private and political interests.

“If Russia prosecutes those who ordered Anna’s killing it will send a strong message that there will no longer be impunity for journalists’ killers,” said White.

The IFJ has developed a database on the killings of journalists in Russia since the early 1990s. Based on the work of Russia’s two media monitors, the Glasnost Defence Foundation and the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, the IFJ database details when, where and how so many journalists and media workers have died or gone missing.

Click here to access the database.

For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide