Human Rights Council concerned about battle against independent journalism in Russia

The Russian Presidential Human Rights Council urges taking the professional community's opinions into account when making decisions on closing mass media outlets.

The Russian Presidential Human Rights Council urges taking the professional community's opinions into account when making decisions on closing mass media outlets.

"These offensives against independent mass media outlets are characterized with the fact that owners or administrative people are leaving the legal field and operate on general notions of morality, interpreting them in their own way, while journalistic do standards exist. Journalists, not officials should discuss this," Human Rights Council member Leonid Nikitinsky said at a news conference in Interfax on Monday.

This discussion is pushed away from professional mass media outlets onto the Internet, "where ignorance and aggression often win," Nikitinsky said.

"We see that everything is fine with 'yellow' journalism, it blooms and blossoms, things are relatively fine with commercial journalism, everything is terrific with propaganda - it appears to me that it is so terrific it does not even affect anyone anymore - while civil society journalism is being destroyed intentionally," he said.

The Human Rights Council posted on its website on Monday its recommendations following a special meeting by Media of Civil Society: Difficulties of Establishment.

The Human Rights Council expressed extreme concern due to numerous incidents, "forming a general picture of the offensive against professional and quality journalism in civil society," the document said.

Increasing subscription tariffs for newspapers and magazines, "administrative pursuit of Internet mass media outlets with their own opinion and organizing bullying campaigns against certain reporters" highlight some such incidents, the Human Rights Council said.

"The practice of state support for mass media at the federal, and, especially regional level has led to professional reporters moving to the propaganda and PR sectors", the Human Rights Council said.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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