Latest murder of journalist in Russia underlines need for government action, says OSCE media freedom representative


harasztiVIENNA, 13 August 2009 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, condemned today the murder of newspaper editor Abdulmalik Akhmedilov in Makhachkala, Dagestan on 11 August, and reiterated his call to Russia’s highest authorities to assume responsibility in combating violence against the free press.
“The government must publicly acknowledge that the campaign against journalists and human rights activists in the Russian Federation is intolerable,” Haraszti wrote in a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Akhmedilov was a deputy editor of the Makhachkala-based daily Hakikat (The Truth) and the chief editor of the political monthly Sogratl. He had criticized federal and local law enforcement officials for violating human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of the fight against extremism. In the last month alone, several journalists and civil society activists have been kidnapped and killed.
“It is unavoidable to take to task the highest levels of law enforcement that proved unable to resolve earlier cases,” Haraszti said in the letter. “An action plan must be presented to the public that would put an end to this human rights crisis which continues to claim lives.”
Haraszti offered his condolences to Akhmedilov’s family.
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