The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) today urged Russian authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation after prosecutors announced an inquest into the recent death of journalist Ivan Safronov.
“The authorities should not rush to conclusions,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “This death again raises great concern over the safety of journalist in Russia but there should be a completely open-minded investigation without any foregone conclusions.”
Safronov was a military affairs writer for Russian newspaper Kommersant. He died on Friday after falling from the fifth floor of his apartment building. According to press reports he received threats for an article he was preparing about Russian plans to sell weapons to Iran and Syria via Belarus, but Kommersant said he had not yet submitted the piece. Russian authorities are launching an investigation in to his death.
“Journalists around the world are concerned that another colleague has fallen victim in Russia to people who use violence to silence journalists at work,” White said. “And that concern requires that the Russian authorities apply themselves 100 percent to an investigation that reveals the truth about why Ivan Safronov died.”
The international spotlight has focused on the dangers that Russian journalists face after the assassination of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow on October 7. Her death was one of four killings of media workers in Russia in 2006 that added to at least another 255 killings of journalists and media staff in Russia since 1993. Many of these have been explained, but since President Vladimir Putin came to power around 40 killings of journalists have taken place and none of them have been satisfactorily resolved.
The IFJ has established an international commission of inquiry to investigate the killings of journalists in Russia in the last 20 years. The IFJ will hold its world congress in Moscow in May where the fight against impunity for journalists’ killers will be one of the main topics of discussion.
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide