Russia founders in three Media Freedom ratings

Russia performed miserably in three major ratings by prominent Western media watchdogs released this week to mark World Press Freedom Day on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin retained a place on the Predators of Freedom of Information index by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, published on Friday.

The report called Putin a “control freak” and accused him of oppressing Russia's burgeoning grassroots movement, which was the driving force behind the recent anti-Kremlin protests. Putin shares the list with 38 groups and individuals, including new Chinese president Xi Jinping, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Italian mafia and the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Russia also ranked ninth on the annual Impunity Index by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which lists unsolved journalist murders.

Fourteen murders of journalists remain unsolved in Russia since 2003, said the report, released Thursday.

But the report also praised Russia for “a general decline in deadly anti-press violence and a handful of partly successful prosecutions in journalist murders,” including in the 2006 shooting of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya. A former police officer was convicted in December of assisting the murder, though the investigation never said who he was working for.

The 2013 Impunity Index was topped by Iraq, followed by Somalia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Afghanistan, Mexico and Pakistan.

Finally, Russia was down four places to 176th of 197 slots in the Freedom of the Press 2013 rating by US-based nongovernmental organization Freedom House.

The report, which came out Wednesday, put Russia in the “non-free” group of countries, criticizing it for governmental control of main television channels and recent draconian regulations on NGOs and slander in the media.

Top countries on The Freedom of the Press rating were Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands, while Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan ranked as the worst performers.

No Russian official has commented on the ratings in time for this article’s publication.

First published in RIA Novosti

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