Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
is not a "predator" of free press as has been claimed by a
freedom watchdog, a government spokesman here said and
attributed it to "deeply-ingrained" stereotypes.
"Unfortunately we don`t know the criteria, on the grounds
of which these conclusions were drawn. But they are absolutely
wrong," Russian PM`s spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as
saying by RIA Novosti.
He was referring to the roster of "predators" published
on Monday by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
press freedom watchdog that included Putin among 40 famous
politicians, religious and military figures from different
"It`s hard to tell whether this mistake has come as a
result of the deeply-ingrained stereotypes about everything
related with Russia or is a consequence of the lack of
information," Peskov said.
"Over the last 10 years, Vladimir Putin has done much so
that mass media became more economically independent and
freer," he said.
Putin and the pro-Kremlin President of the Russian
Federation`s Caucasus republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov,
are the two Russian politicians ranked in this list.
RSF in the Predators 2010 roster posted on its website
said Putin, "the former KGB officer," has exerted so much
control over all aspects of life in Russia that "the national
TV stations now speak with a single voice".
The organisation said conditions for journalists were
particularly difficult in Russia`s volatile North Caucasus
It cited Kadyrov as saying that "the press must be in
the service of the Chechen people`s unity".
"But in practice, journalists interpret this as meaning
they must praise his every action and the people`s devotion to
him," it said.
RSF said reporters and rights activists in Russia are
exposed to considerable danger, especially in the North
Five journalists were murdered in 2009 and 22 have been
murdered since 2000, according to records.
China`s President Hu Jintao, Belarus` Alexander
Lukashenka Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Iran`s
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il were
also listed among the `predators` of free press in their