IFJ Calls for Probe into Stabbing Attack on Journalist in Russia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today called on Russian authorities to investigate the attack in which a journalist was assaulted and stabbed several times outside his home.

Media reports say that Sergei Aslanyan, a presenter at Mayak radio station, was stabbed by an unidentified attacker who called at his home, requesting to talk to him. When the journalist stepped out, the caller hit him on the head before stabbing him in the chest, the neck and on his arms.

"This is a vicious attack which must be investigated to ensure that the culprit faces the full force of the law," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "We are relieved that Sergei's injuries are not considered life-threatening but the nasty assault could have had a tragic end."

The EFJ also condemned the attack, saying this attack is the latest in a series of violent incidents targeting independent journalists in Russia.

"A journalist should not have to fear for her or his life and security for reporting, for doing their job," said EFJ President Arne König. "We live in a time were more and more war criminals actually are brought to justice and convicted. We think it is similarly important that those who attack journalists also are been brought to justice. Therefore we call on the Russian authorities to do their job better than in the past and arrest Sergei's attacker."

According to reports in Russia, the attack on the journalist might have been linked to a programme he recently presented in which he allegedly questioned the standing of the Prophet Muhammad as a religious leader, suggesting he was driven by financial gains. He later apologised on the same programme for his comments.

Other media reports have also quoted the journalist's friend, Deputy Director of the Russian State Television and Radio Co. Sergei Arkhipov as saying he was told by the victim that the attacker had shouted at him that " You don't like Allah' and " You insulted Allah'.

The IFJ says that the attack on Sergei fits the recent pattern of escalating violence on journalists in Russia after the Gladnost Foundation disclosed that Sergei was the 28th journalist attacked in Russia since the start of the year.

"The increasing violence against journalists in Russia is a source of major concern," added Boumelha. "We urge the authorities to adopt a zero tolerance towards attacks on journalists which is the only way to reverse the trend."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries