Many people believe that in Italy, today, being a journalist is not so easy. Because the censorship is a long arm that controls everything and comes from above. But there are countries that are doing
much worse. One of these is governed by a dear friend of Silvio Berlusconi: Vladimir Putin. Russia has no press freedom and this is not a news. The news is that in Russia people are killed and across the border almost nobody is talking about this.
Olga Kotovskaya was a journalist, died on November 16. She would have fall accidentally from 14th floor of a building in the center of Kaliningrad, six days after a court ruled that she had been unfairly stripped of the TV station she had created.
Reporters Without Borders wrote that her suspicious death requires a meticulous investigation that "should be assigned to a police department that is not under control of local authorities, given that their own role should be analyzed to understand something of the death of Kotovskaya" .
The organization for the freedom of the press remembers how "impunity in cases of murders of journalists is one of the most disturbing aspects of the media situation in Russia."
In this murder they completely choose the wrong time. Because only six days before, the journalist got a ruling stating that the document used to transfer her control on the television station Kaskad (of which she owned the 49%) had been falsified. Olga Kotovskaya, therefore, had more reason to celebrate, added her strong character, the fact that she loved her job and had two children: elements that would never lead to think it was a suicide.
Her death is very similar to that of Ivan Safronov, a promising journalist of the newspaper Kommersant, who died in March 2007 falling from the fifth floor of his apartment in Moscow. He was investigating the arms trade from Russia to the Middle East, particularly to Syria and Iran. But this article never arrived to his journal.
Friends and colleagues of Olga Kotovskaya believe it was a murder and they have requested the opening of an investigation into what happened. Solomon Ginzburg, a member of the Kaliningrad regional parliament, said "It was murder. Olga was a strong, feisty woman. A year before her death, she came to me and said that a high-ranking official had urged her to drop her legal case. "
Mikhail Chesalin, leader of the Patriots of Russia is convinced it was a murder. "The fact that violence against journalists and owners of media outlets has become the norm in the Kaliningrad region and is almost never punished should at least attract the attention of the authorities".
Igor Rostov, husband of Olga as well as co-owner of the newspaper Kaskad, is convinced that his wife was killed and bluntly said "if I am found dead on the rails, do not believe that I committed suicide."
Even the Union of Russian journalists believes the suicide theory is convenient, but it is not the only one.
But a journalist killed in Russia do not make headlines, because the country is at 153 position out of 175 countries in the ranking of press freedom made by Reporters Without Borders. Since 2000 at least 22 journalists were killed because of their work. The death of Anna Politkovskaya, murdered in October 2006, is still withouth a culprit. Anastasia Baburova, who was working as a freelance for Novaya Gazeta, was killed earlier this year. Yuri Shchekochikhin, editor of Novaya Gazeta died poisoned in July 2003 as he tried to investigate the real reasons for the war in Chechnya.
The list of omicides is very long. But Putin seems to have no real reason to find the culprits. He seems more interested in defending the silence.
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