Russia to enact tough new law to protect journalists

Russia plans to enact a new law to protect journalists by proposing harsher punishments for assailants, amid an outrage over a brutal attack on an investigative scribe in the country.

Last Updated: Nov 09, 2010, 22:55 PM IST

Moscow: Russia plans to enact a new law to
protect journalists by proposing harsher punishments for
assailants, amid an outrage over a brutal attack on an
investigative scribe in the country.

Boris Reznik, the Deputy Chair of the Duma Committee
on media, said a bill is to be tabled in the Russian
parliament proposing harsher punishments for attacks on
journalists.

"In recent years, attacks on journalists have become
more and more frequent, although their work is socially
important," Reznik told reporters.

Oleg Kashin, an investigative journalist of the
leading business daily Kommersant, was brutally beaten by
unidentified assailants with iron rods near his house
resulting in severe head and limb injuries on November 6.

Kashin`s colleagues claim the attack was linked to the
journalist`s recent investigations into extremist youth
groups.

President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday ordered high-level
probe into the brutal beating of Kashin, who is in hospital in
serious condition. He expressed confidence that the attackers
will be punished.

The bill, in the form of amendments to the criminal
penal code, moots sentence of 20 years to life term for
serious attacks against journalists, while those who commit
milder attacks could be sentenced to 12-20 years in jail.

According to international rights organisations, such
as `Reporters Without Borders`, Russia has proved to be one of
the most dangerous countries for journalists.

The authorities have so far failed to nab the killers
of Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya and editor of Russian
edition of Forbes, Paul Klebnikov, few years ago.

PTI