Russian news media demand protection against police abuses

The heads of Russia’s leading media outlets on Wednesday sent an open letter to the interior minister demanding protection for journalists and society against police arbitrariness after a court fined a photographer for covering an anti-government rally. A Moscow court found RIA Novosti photo correspondent Andrei Stenin guilty of taking part in an unsanctioned protest in front of the presidential administration building in December and fined him RUB 500 (about USD 17). The state-run agency called the decision “unjust” in a statement earlier on Wednesday and confirmed the journalist had been assigned to cover the event. The ruling has stirred a wave of criticism in the Russian media community, with the chief editors of some 20 major newspapers, agencies, TV and radio stations signing the letter to Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev. The letter said the journalistic community is alarmed the incident that may set a precedent for prosecuting journalists “while they perform their professional duty” in Russia


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