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Russian Federation: misuse of anti-terrorism legislation limits media freedom and freedom of expression

Letter
Strasbourg 19/02/2019
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Today the Commissioner published a letter in which she asks the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Tatiana Moskalkova, to accord close attention to the case of Svetlana Prokopyeva, a freelance journalist, who is a suspect in a criminal investigation for alleged “justification of terrorism”.

The criminal case was opened in connection with Ms Prokopyeva’s comments made on 8 November 2018, in which she apparently criticised the state authorities while reflecting on the reasons that had led a teenager to detonate a bomb in a Federal Security Service (FSB) building in Arkhangelsk in October last year, killing himself and injuring several FSB officers.

Observing that the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation limits legitimate reporting or criticism of state authorities and hinders the well-established human rights of freedom of expression and media freedom, the Commissioner stresses that the criminal prosecution against Ms Prokopyeva not only breaches her right to freedom of expression, but also sends “a broader chilling effect on all media and journalists in the Russian Federation, by preventing them from imparting information of public interest, and interfering with the right of people to receive it.”