This is a story by the Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth about a police raid on some online journalists in Moscow.
The journalists run a website called “project” (проект in Russian). They were planning to publish a story (and have now published) about the secret wealth of a government Minister. Previous stories have included an investigation into the leader of Chechnya – Ramzan Kadyrov. The journalists have been questioned in connection with an old defamation case. It seems they were interrogated; and phones and computers searched. The “Project” website itself makes no mention of arrests. Roth says that one editor was “detained”.
Roth contextualises the story as an episode in a wider crackdown on “journalists and opposition groups”.
Roth must know that he is misleading the British public. According to his own reporting groups such as the one in this case use stolen information (“the government has been unable to get a handle on the troves of Russian data that have been leaked and sold on an expansive black market”) to produce stories which embarrass senior figures in the government. They (these groups in general) seem to be more akin to the News of the World than Panorama or Dispatches. The actual story in question seems to be that a government minister’s family have acquired property. The suggestion is that this must be the result of corruption. Nothing then all that terrible – and one can note that enriching themselves and their families (if that is what has been happening here) is hardly something exclusive to Russian government Ministers. British government Ministers seem pretty adept at this too.
Meanwhile Assange languishes in Belmarsh for publishing information about war crimes.Continue reading “Media freedom in Russia – not as bad as they want you to think”